Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U of Washington researchers create a smart home device that responds to cardiac arrest


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: July 3rd, 2019

A research team at the University of Washington (UW) has created a new touch-free AI technology that monitors at-risk patients for cardiac arrest.

The device is intended to protect patients, whether they are awake or sleeping, when there is no one else around them to help in the case of a cardiac arrest. It works by detecting the sound of a patient gasping after a heart attack, known as agonal breathing, and is designed for smart home devices and mobile phones to contact people nearby or emergency services for help.

In tests using audio from calls to Seattle’s emergency services, the technology detected agonal breathing 97% of the time from up to six meters away.

“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,” says UW professor and co-developer of the device Shyam Gollakota. “And then if there’s no response, the device can automatically call 911.”

The research team also programmed the technology to avoid false positives using 7,305 sound samples pulled from 83 hours of sleep lab data. By analyzing these, the technology was able to differentiate agonal breathing from regular sleeping sounds like snoring.

According to Gollakota, the next step is to get access to more 911 calls related to cardiac arrest so that the research team can further improve the system’s accuracy. The team aims to commercialize the technology through the UW start-up Sound Life Sciences.

Source: Verdict Medical Devices

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