BERLIN: A German tech company is in the process of developing an app aimed at detecting coronavirus using the sounds of coughing and sneezing as well as voice recognition.
The firm audEERING, based in the southern state of Bavaria, is banking on audio artificial intelligence as a means of containment and improved analysis of the disease.
With the app, users are asked to record audio of themselves coughing, sneezing or speaking. The technology begins to learn from such vocal characteristics, and compares the data to recordings of -19 patients.
Age, gender and health condition can all be automatically detected by the recordings, the company claims.
Germany and other European countries like Italy, Poland and Latvia are turning to mobile technology as a means of tackling the pandemic. These countries’ governments have launched apps that use Bluetooth wireless to measure contacts between people and issue a warning should one of them later test positive for COVID-19.
Germany’s smartphone app to help trace coronavirus infections was downloaded 6.5 million times in the first 24 hours since its launch.
Although the technology is untested, governments have rushed to deploy it in the absence of a cure for COVID-19, seeking instead to achieve a kind of digital ‘herd immunity’ against the flu-like disease.
Widespread take-up is needed, however, to increase the chance that both people in a risk event use the app. In field tests, the app successfully recorded 80% of such encounters.
According to audEERING CEO & co-founder Dagmar Schuller, a large amount of voluntary data from the public is also required in order for the cough app to be successful.
The firm said it is currently working on being able to embed their app into the government app.