Smart Cough

Hand holding an smartphone

Ring ring! It’s your health care calling!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Thanks to telehealth, you can now get a diagnosis in your PJs — IF your phone is nearby! But what about a COVID test? Could you screen for infections from the comfort of your home?

Ali Imran at the University of Oklahoma and his international team wondered if artificial intelligence, or AI, could help. To train the program, they played five hundred cough sounds with various types of lung infections — including COVID. Even WITHOUT symptoms, these cough sounds CHANGED with infected lungs.

And? The AI program learned to identify COVID just by the sound of a cough! It’s over NINETY percent accurate at diagnosing COVID!

The app for this technology isn’t available yet. But when it is… hurray! No swabs up your nose! No risk of spreading! Stay home, cough into your phone – and let artificial intelligence do the rest!

Imran hopes to train more AIs to detect coughs for different infections.

Even when it comes to COVID, there’s an app for everything!

Reference: Imran, A., Posokhova, I., Qureshi, H. N., Masood, U., Riaz, M. S., Ali, K., John, C. N., Hussain, M. D. I., & Nabeel, M. (2020). AI4COVID-19: AI enabled preliminary diagnosis for COVID-19 from cough samples via an app. Informatics in Medicine Unlocked, 20, 100378.