Your smartphone may very soon be able to be the first to predict if you are infected. It sounds like Sci-Fi, but it’s not. A group of scientists at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is building an app that would listen to people cough and use AI to determine whether they sound like a coronavirus patient.
HOW SO ?
Professor Tomas Teijeiro, one of the researchers working on the project, said that the app was inspired by reports from doctors that all specified that COVID-19 patients had a cough with a very distinctive sound – with a chirping intake of breath at the end – that differed from other illnesses, making it quite recognizable. Therefore, the team started gathering audio samples of people coughing, 1000 of which came from people who were diagnosed with COVID-19. Once completed, the app could be used as a tool to recommend whether users should seek out a coronavirus medical testing or treatment.
SOON-TO-BE “COUGHVID”, THE A.I.-POWERED APP ?
The app is still in early development, and data is sill being collected, and public health experts being consulted to determine how to best design and deploy it. Another few months could pass before any product is presented. “Coughvid” is just one of many potential coronavirus solutions being pulled together by A.I. labs around the world eager to find algorithmic solutions to the pandemic.
Furthermore, critics have argued that the tech community is too eager to provide flashy solutions to coronavirus, that could end up having unintended negative consequences, and overload emergency resources even more, if such apps lead people with mild symptoms to worry about the virus. To which Pr Teijeiro answers that the fact that other research labs are working on the same approach makes him believe that they have a valid point. To be continued.