Amid the introduction of COVID-19 and the rise and fall of cases, many organizations have shifted their attention towards identifying and eliminating the virus. One company in particular has contributed their voice-analysis technology to the cause.
Vocalis, a firm based in Israel, has developed an app that can detect chronic obstructive pulmonary disease through patterns in speech. Using the same approach, they hope to recognize patterns that may help identify COVID-19 as well.
The company set up a research app where they collected audio samples from those who tested positive for COVID-19. Vocalis’s machine-learning algorithm then compared them with voice recordings of people who tested negative. By mid-summer, they had established a trial screening tool that could detect the presence of the virus.
Although, detecting a virus from voice alone is a feat in itself, Vocalis doesn’t intend for their tool to diagnose patients. Instead, they hope that the app can be used on potential cases and for identifying individuals in need of testing. The tool’s selling feature is its non invasive yet effective approach that takes minimal effort from users.
Alongside Vocalis, many other research organizations are attempting to develop tools to identify COVID-19 using machine-learning. This includes algorithms that detect if someone is wearing a face mask and programs that can pinpoint conditions like dementia and depression. Such developments are paving the way for voice-analysis technology. One day, diagnosing a disease or condition could be as simple as asking Siri!