Image: Freepik

Researchers explore ways to diagnose Covid-19 through the voice

CAPE TOWN – Researchers are looking at ways to use people’s voices to identify Covid-19 infection and other conditions such as depression and dementia.

Vocalis Health, a company based in Israel and the United States of America, specialises in the development of artificial intelligence-based platforms that are able to assess and diagnose the health status of a person through their voice. The company was formed by the merging of Beyond Verbal Communication and Healthymize,

The technology aims to provide healthcare facilities with a platform to remotely interact with patients by screening and monitoring them by identifying various voice-affecting diseases some including chronic respiratory or cardiac conditions or depression and has moved a big part of their focus to Covid-19.

Vocalis Health had previously developed a smartphone app that detected flare-ups of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by analysing voices and detecting shortness of breath while speaking. The company looks to do the same with Covid-19 as development is underway with Covid-19 patients are participating by downloading the Vocalis research app. Users open the app once a day to speak into their phones by counting from 50 to 70 and describing a picture aloud.

Image: Freepik

With over 1,500 voice samples as well as audio samples from those who tested negative for Covid-19, their machine-learning system began processing the recordings aiming to identify and create a unique voiceprint for the disease.

The development of such technology is not aimed to definitively diagnose users for Covid-19 but just to help identify those that may need testing, to quarantine or in need of medical help.

“Can we help with our AI algorithm?” asks Tal Wenderow, the president and chief executive of Vocalis to nature. “This is not invasive, it’s not a drug, we’re not changing anything. All you need to do is speak.”

The technology is still under development and within its pilot phase with the company continuing to collect vocal samples. If you would like to contribute to the cause by simple taking part in the survey, visit Vocalis Health

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