Analyzing people’s keystrokes as they type on a computer keyboard can reveal a great deal of information about the state of their motor function, according to a new study from MIT.

In a paper appearing in Scientific Reports, the researchers found that their algorithm for analyzing keystrokes could distinguish between typing done in the middle of the night, when sleep deprivation impairs motor skills, and typing performed when fully rested.

While this study focused on the effects of fatigue, it also represents a first step toward using keystroke patterns to diagnose conditions that impair motor function, such as Parkinson’s disease, much earlier than is now possible, the researchers say.

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor

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