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What if coughing into your smartphone could save your life?

The American start-up Hyfe is proposing an application to identify possible respiratory problems, simply by analysing a person’s cough. To do this, the app draws an impressive database of sounds that helps it recognise certain conditions.

Hyfe is a free and ad-free mobile cough-monitoring application. It is billed as a real diagnostic tool, developed in collaboration with a team of health professionals, notably in partnership with the University of Navarra in Spain.

In Pamplona and the surrounding area, more than 800 participants took part in a study of their night time coughing habits, using the Hyfe smartphone application. The aim of this experiment was to determine whether the application could correctly predict the incidence of respiratory diseases and, potentially, the occurrence of future epidemics.

Using machine learning (commonly referred to as artificial intelligence), the app detects and tracks a user’s cough in real time via their smartphone or a connected wearable device. Its intensity and frequency can then be used to detect and diagnose possible respiratory diseases. It goes without saying that users should always see a doctor to confirm any suggested diagnosis.

For the app creators, acoustic epidemiology is the next big revolution in healthcare. That’s because whether it’s coughing, sneezing, wheezing, snoring or even sniffling, all of these sounds contain diagnostic information that can be useful to health practitioners.

Before being launched, more than 700,000 sounds were submitted to the app to help it identify a range of chronic respiratory conditions. – AFP Relaxnews


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