AI vs. Corona: Detecting Diseases from the Voice

©2021 audEERING GmbH       Susanne Reichert         11.02.2021

What can AI do in the fight against the corona virus? Audio AI can really move the needle in medicine as the magazine Nature recently published. Diseases like Parkinson’s, depression and COVID-19 have one thing in common: They affect the way a person’s voice sounds.

Audio AI is key

So, what are these changes and how can they be detected to give an indication if a person is infected or not? With COVID-19 it is simple and complex at the same time. First of all, it is a respiratory disease, meaning typical symptoms are coughing and sneezing. However, there are most likely many asymptomatically infected people, who display almost no symptoms or do not recognize them as such, but spread the disease. Furthermore, a common cold or an influenza could sound similar, couldn’t it? If this is the case, how can symptoms be detected reliably?

Over 80 % accuracy for detecting typical symptoms

The answer is, that Audio AI can detect small differences in a person’s voice, if the model behind the detection mechanism is trained with thousands of data sets. Based on voice samples from infected and healthy people, the AI model can learn patterns which are typical for COVID-19 and detect an infection with over 80 % accuracy.

Fighting the flood of plastic and Corona

At audEERING we have developed the portal AI SoundLab to gather thousands of audio data sets for training our Corona detection model. Based on algorithms, we will then create an app, which can enable any smartphone user to make short voice recordings and get an indication, if he or she might have COVID-19. If there is a high probability that the recorded symptoms are caused by COVID-19, an additional test by a doctor will be recommended.

This way the amount of negative test results can be reduced dramatically. The app can e.g. give an indication that many people only have a common cold and there is no Corona test needed. This helps the health system as its capacities can be used for those, who already show a high probability of being infected with the Corona virus. Furthermore, the solution is good for the environment as it reduces plastic waste from test sticks and other medical material.

If you would like to join us in the fight against the Corona virus, please register at AI SoundLab and donate your data to us.

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