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Digital Assistants to call Emergency Services

08/07/2019 (8 months ago)

Experts believe that digital assistants that are becoming increasingly popular in households worldwide, will soon be able to save lives by detecting if someone is having a cardiac arrest.

A team from the University of Washington are developing a prototype audio tool that can be built in to smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo or the Google Home, which senses the irregular breathing of someone whose heart has stopped beating and automatically call emergency services. 
 
The research in to this this potentially lifesaving software consisted of analysing 162 clips of agonal breathing from emergency calls in Seattle, 2.5-second segments were extracted from the clips to create 236 clips, all dated between 2009 and 2017. The recordings were captured on three smart devices Amazon Alexa, iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4, boosting the data to 7,316 positive audio clips. Negative data was compiled using 83 hours of audio collected during sleep studies, such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea.
 
During the research, the process incorrectly categorised a breathing sound as agonal breathing just 0.14 per cent of the time.
 
Co-author of the study, published in Digital Medicine and associate professor in the university’s school of computer science and engineering, Shayam Gollakota, explains: “A lot of people have smart speakers in their homes, and these devices have amazing capabilities that we can take advantage of.”
 
“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.”
 

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