Track the COVID-19 with his phone

Dépister la COVID-19 avec son téléphone

Scientists think that the sick of the COVID-19 emit distinctive sounds when breathing or coughing, and that it would be possible to use the microphones in our smartphones to develop solutions to screening.

A team from the University of Pittsburgh, in the United States, announced this week that it was beginning research on a technology that would take the form of an app for phones.

The idea, says the professor of electrical and computer engineering Wei Gao, would be to analyze with the artificial intelligence sounds from the respiratory tract of the user to see if they correspond to an infection by the COVID-19.

In theory, it would suffice to download this famous application and connect with a small special tip on the telephone to do this test at home.

But before getting to that point, scientists will prove the existence of a signature “sound” specific to the disease.


This technology is still in the early stages of development.

Moreover, this type of solution, based on listening and artificial intelligence, made by the skeptics in the scientific community, reports the Wall Street Journal.

There is a fear of lack of reliability and errors in the diagnostics, which could bring people with the COVID-19 to believe that they are not contagious, and vice-versa.

The proponents of artificial intelligence say they are aware of these limitations, but believe that it could nonetheless show to be complementary to the methods of screening the traditional, according to the daily american.

“The goal is to provide a simple and inexpensive way to monitor and diagnose a large population without having recourse to special equipment,” say the scientists of Pittsburgh in a press release.

Other projects

They are not the only ones to believe in this avenue. In Switzerland, a different group of researchers began to raise hundreds of sound samples of people who… cough !

Some suffer from the COVID-19, and others are in perfect health. The objective is to compare these noises to see if we can draw from the inherent characteristics of the novel coronavirus.

“It seems clear that a substantial proportion [of patients with coronavirus] is suffering from a dry cough that is different from the flu or allergies,” said Tomas Teijeiro, of the federal polytechnic School of Lausanne, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

At the same time, he admits that it is “very difficult” to say, in the current state of knowledge, what would be the level of reliability of this kind of test.

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