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AI to detect early-stage Parkinson’s disease

Image Credit: University of South Australia

A South Australia start-up, which is based at the University of South Australia’s (UniSA) Innovation & Collaboration Centre, has released an artificial intelligence (AI) web app capable of detecting early-stage Parkinson’s disease.

According to a recent press release, the computer vision system uses AI to track movement and compares it with known Parkinson’s symptoms.

How does it work?

Users need to simply upload a video recording. The AI already starts tracking while the video is still uploading. A report is created almost immediately.

The app is a welcome improvement to the current telehealth technologies. Occupation therapists, in particular, will benefit since they work with patients in remote areas.

It is quite difficult for them to remotely assess patient movement using manual technology, which is addressed by the app.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing movement.

The app removes the manual effort for diagnosis and reduces error caused by ineffective communication technologies.

16 occupational therapists as well as nursing homes in South Australia have tested the software platform.

Working with a Smart Mirror

Meanwhile, the start-up announced its upcoming smart mirror some time in February. The mirror acts as an extension of the app and simplifies the assessment process for occupational therapists.

The AI software will be integrated with the smart mirror as a real-time video-based diagnostic tool, designed for ongoing interaction in the home and the monitoring of symptoms over time.

Communities, which need it the most, are helped as the barrier to accessing expert healthcare is removed.

It is difficult for people in remote locations to access telehealth solutions and Parkinson’s disease makes it especially difficult for users to be able to push a button or press a touch-pad.

The potential for this product has wide-reaching applications, especially for those who are isolated, living without assistance or in remote and regional areas.

A conceptual video, on the start-up’s website, showcases the mirror in use, demonstrating the range of potential applications in fitness, health and wellness beyond the product’s initial purpose.

The start-up’s Chief Technology Officer shared that the interest for the mirror technology has grown. Add to that how the enthusiasm for the ways it could be used has grown as well.

According to him, it was designed to help keep older people in their own homes longer and reduce the number of physical appointments with doctors and occupational therapists.

It is also ideal for people living in regional and remote areas.

As reported, the mirror evaluates a person in two ways.

The first is the passive way where it will just observe them as they go about their normal routines, and work out from there if there is a tremor present.

The active way would have person do games by simply following a pointer on the mirror.

The team aims to have an advanced prototype of the mirror ready by the end of the year.

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