A smart speaker programmed to detect if you are having a heart attack

Imagine that you are home alone, and you begin to gasp, your chest is pounding, your body becomes weak and you are feeling as though you are about to pass out. You’re thinking: ’I’m having a heart attack, but no one’s here.’ And you can’t get to your phone nor are you wearing a First Alert device.

Not to worry if you have a future smart speaker health device!  

Smart speakers are now being worked on to be programmed to detect if you are having a cardiac arrest which more often than not happens at home and as often there isn’t anyone around to call for help.

At the University of Washington. located in Seattle WA and one of the oldest public universities on the West Coast, researchers have designed a proof-of-concept AIdevice that will be able to detect from human sound cues that a cardiac arrest is happening and immediately respond for help.

The device’s system is programmed to 911 call samples and to listen for sounds of distinctive gasps of air referred to as agonal breathing which is directly correlated to cardiac arrests. If no one responds to help the individual having a cardiac arrest the smart speaker device will call 911.

To avoid as many false positives as possible the device training used several variable recordings captured on different phones and speakers and the resulting accuracy seems to be very high. During testing the AI misidentified breathing only .22 percent or less of the time during a single event. But it had a perfect clearance when it detected sounds that were at least 10 seconds apart.

This isn’t just theory. It’s real time events with actual real time experience. 

The scientists at University of Washington (UW) have created a ‘spin-out’ company, a company that is formed into a new corporation separating itself from UW and taking with it the creativity, operations, associated assets and liabilities. 

 of the new device. This company is called Sound Life Sciences.

Sound Life Sciences will commercialize the technology but users won’t see it added to the Alexa or Google Assistant features due to privacy issues, but it could be possible. The device will have to constantly pay attention to breathing rhythms and noises, so it would make more sense for it to be used as a health sensor or other dedicated device specific to heart cardiac arrests.  

Whether it appears on Alexa or Google Assistant or as a separate health sensor device, it would provide seniors or anyone with a heart health problem some independence and assurance that they will receive the help they need should such an event occur.