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Eight researchers find that smart speakers can detect abnormal heart rhythms

“Alexa, how is my health?”

Researchers at the University of Washington say they have developed a unique anesthetic for the heartbeat using conventional smart speakers.

Analysts have come up with an artificial intelligence or AI-based system that relies on sonor technology to pick up vibrations from nearby chest wall movements. If at all, cardiac resuscitation technology can improve the way doctors make telemedicine appointments by providing data that would otherwise require means of carrying, medical equipment, or in-person testing.

The goal was to find a way to use devices that would force people to take up cardiology and health monitoring in the future, says Arun Sridhar, an cardiology assistant at UW Medical School. The team announced its results on Tuesday.

“We have Google և Alexa in the houses around us. We mostly use them to wake up in the morning or play music, ”said Shiam Golakota, UW Professor of Computer Science and co-author of the report. “The question we were asking is, can we use a smart microphone for something more useful?” Researchers say smart speaker makers can integrate technology into existing products through software updates.

The system works by emitting audio signals into a room at a volume that people cannot hear. When the impulses bounce back to the speaker, the algorithm works to find out the beating patterns from the wall of the person’s chest. The second algorithm is then used to determine the time of two heartbeats.

This information, known as rhythm intervals, can help doctors assess how well your heart is working. The researchers trained the speakers to select regular, irregular heartbeats.

The concept of remotely controlling patient health is not new. Wearable devices, such as smartwatches, have been adding to health tools for years. But unauthorized health monitoring is to some extent a limitation that can be valuable when you are not wearing a device or experiencing any of the symptoms of a medical emergency.

The Smart Speaker Research Project started in 2019, but has spread due to the epidemic. Analysts recalled the items late last year, testing the software with 26 healthy participants և 24 hospitalized patients with a variety of heart conditions, including atrial fibrillation և heart failure.

Healthy patients were examined in office rooms, while heart patients were examined in their wards at Seattle UW Medical Center.

The experts then compared the results of the smart speaker with the results of medical grade ECG monitors. Researchers say that the readings of smart speakers are relatively accurate. Only deviating from ECG readings, which “has no medical significance”.

The system was created for on-site inspections. If you want to read, you have to sit 2 feet away from the speaker for it to work.

The researchers used the developer version of Alexa with a low-quality speaker to conduct their tests. And they say that the speakers of the main devices can be more powerful, allowing readings from a distance.

Scientists at the core of technology are imagining a future when people can give up their smart speakers through heart rhythms. And if you sleep near your device during telemedicine appointments or it is close to you, they can bring benefits. For example, you can share your heartbeat with your doctor during a remote examination. Or the device can alert medical professionals if you have a heart attack.

The next step is to find out if AI can be used to detect signs of sleep apnea.

A quarter of US households already have smart speakers. But it can take several years to get software approved for the devices, Golakota said.

Researchers have previously developed an AI system for smart speakers to detect cardiac arrest. They have developed intelligent loudspeaker technology to monitor children’s breathing. These algorithms are subject to FDA approval.

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