A new app in the store claims to confirm COVID symptoms when a user counts loudly. VocalisCheck asks users to count from 50 to 70 loudly, then the voice is recorded on the phone. The audio is later transformed into a spectrogram to check symptoms like shortness of breath, headache, and fever.
Vocalis Health, an Israeli tech company, developed this app. It depends on automatic intelligence while matching the characteristics of a user’s voice with the database of samples already loaded in the app.
In India, this app was tested and it has surprisingly shown an accuracy of greater than 80 percent. During February this year, the company conducted a clinical study in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). The sample size of the study was around 2000 participants who recorded their sample in multiple languages and the results showed an accuracy of 81.2 percent.
“PCR testing is being used to screen for COVID-19, which is an extremely expensive, resource-intensive, and time-consuming approach. Instead of misusing PCR testing for screening, utilizing a highly scalable screening tool like VocalisCheck can fill a significant gap in the current approach to COVID screening, with the ability to effectively funnel those with a high risk of infection to the appropriate diagnostic test,” said Dr. Shady Hassan, Co-Founder, Chief Operating and Medical Officer of Vocalis Health.
According to the company, voice is the first line of defence against the virus. A single voice sample with a loud voice and counting from 50 to 70 is enough for the app. “We are building a wide array of vocal biomarkers with over 1 million voice data points in our database. Analyzing these data sets, Vocalis Health is identifying disease-specific vocal biomarkers to go through various validations,” said the company.
The recorded audio file is uploaded for cloud-based analytics that produces a report in a couple of minutes. AI algorithms are designed in a way to extract around 512 different features from the voice sample. The sample is then matched on the cloud, to identify COVID symptoms, the algorithms match with symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, and headache in the voice sample.
However, normal users may not be able to use the VocalisCheck app anytime soon. App available on the play store requires a pre-registered login ID and password to use the app. While the app on the iOS store has been facing crashing issues when tried to open it after installation.
App developers focus on helping businesses and offices run their operations safely amid the pandemic using the app. Employees can send their voices regularly so the management can keep a check on their condition and avoid a possible outbreak in the office.