Digital Assistants May Be Able To Automatically Detect When Someone Is Having a Heart Attack, Study Finds

Zorro shares a report from The Register: Smart speakers are always listening for wake words, and recording everything they hear to improve their neural networks and target their masters with marketing. It’s, frankly, creepy. Academics at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, however, believe there are benefits to installing a cyber-assistant at home that listens in all the time. “A lot of people have smart speakers in their homes, and these devices have amazing capabilities that we can take advantage of,” said Shyam Gollakota, coauthor of the research published this week in npj Digital Medicine. “We envision a contactless system that works by continuously and passively monitoring the bedroom for an agonal breathing event, and alerts anyone nearby to come provide CPR. And then if there’s no response, the device can automatically call 911.” “When the researchers tested their system on samples from the positive dataset, the devices correctly identified the noises associated with heart attacks about 96 percent of the time when they were placed six meters away from the source of the sound,” the report adds. “But thereâ(TM)s a catch: it only really works when the researchers apply a noise cancellation algorithm to drown out background noise. The percentage for identifying heart attacks rapidly drops to just below five per cent if a noise cancellation algorithm isn’t applied.”

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