Japan's KDDI joins smartphone addiction research

Addictive use of smartphones is a growing social problem. Now, researchers in Japan plan to use neuroscience and artificial intelligence to help people break the habit.

The research will be led by mobile phone carrier KDDI and neuroscience experts from the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International based in Kyoto.

A KDDI survey of about 90,000 smartphone users last December showed that roughly 25 percent are worried about their excessive screen time. Of them, about 83 percent said they want to do something about it.

The research group plans to use an imaging device to scan the brains of hundreds of people as they use their smartphones. Researchers will also study their patterns of usage.

The brain activity will be analyzed by AI to find ways to reduce dependency.

The group expects it will take about four years to develop an app to help users detect and deal with their addictive behavior.