New technology to help with early detection of Parkinson's

Two leading innovators in the field of emotional sensing, Emteq and AudEERING, have collaborated to improve the lives of people with Parkinson's Disease, creating a solution that will enable better personalised treatment of the condition through continuous tracking of symptom severity in patients.

Both companies use innovative technology to conduct 'emotional analysis' and create technology that can transpire into entertainment, commercial and medical research. Emteq focuses on emotional interaction with technology and audEERING focuses on emotional artificial intelligence through intelligent audio analysis – now, as reported in this month's issue of Wired magazine, they are turning their attentions to a disease that affects around 10 million people worldwide.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic and disabling neurodegenerative disorder whose prevalence increases with age – an increasing problem to an ageing population. While prescription type for Parkinson's varies with the individual, there is no mechanism to help clinicians continuously and objectively track the effectiveness of prescribed mediation, or the patient's adherence to the prescription. Getting the medication right is, therefore, a difficult process carried out with only subjective feedback from the patients.

Emteq's emotion sensing Al technology reads facial expression and physical movement through wearables that continuously track digital biomarkers from the wearer. They are enabling the next generation of emotionally aware devices, applications and digital assistants which can rejuvenate medical research. To assist with Parkinson's symptom monitoring, Emteq are developing a 'normal' pair of glasses that can track, interpret and gauge many of the key physical indicators of Parkinson's Disease, providing actionable information for personalisation of treatment by clinicians, and better symptom management for the patient.

A profile of the company appears in the latest edition of Wired magazine this month. The tech enterprise publication spoke to CSO and co-founder Dr Charles Nduka about his experiences treating patients with facial paralysis, and the company's plans to revolutionise the treatment offered for a variety of diseases and mental health issues.

Emteq co-founder Dr Charles Nduka

Teaming up with Emteq, the leading audio AI innovator audEERING have developed a novel model based on their proven technology. Their audio AI can detect vocal changes associated with Parkinson's Disease with a high degree of accuracy. Emteq plan to incorporate this voice analysis into their product and thus provide an additional biomarker for enhanced detection and therapy.

The 'smart glasses' will be subject to a clinical trial in the second half of 2019 with planned availability in 2020. This exciting initiative has been made possible by the award of an Innovate UK grant under the Health and Life Sciences fund 2017.

"By adding vocal biomarker analysis to our emotion AI platform, this collaboration will provide significant value to our drive to monitor key symptom levels in Parkinson's Disease," said Graeme Cox, Emteq's CEO and co-founder. "Voice analysis provides important information on physical and emotional wellbeing and audEERING are leaders in this field."

"We are deeply committed to our work in the medical sector with our audio and emotion AI," said Dagmuar Schuller, CEO at audEERING. "This allows a completely new dimesnion with detecting and treating certain diseases, especially in the field of neurocognitive disorders where very early stages are often shown in speech. We can detect such anomalies very early which allows enhanced treatment and therapy."