Monday, October 8, 2018

Startup Aims to Save Lives by Analyzing Infant Cries with AI

A Nigerian startup is seeking potentially life-saving information in those wails using AI. It’s developing a deep learning model to enable hospitals in developing nations to use this data to improve treatment of birth asphyxia, one of the most common — and deadly — neonatal conditions.

Charles Onu, founder of startup Ubenwa (which literally means “cry of a baby” in Igbo, a language spoken by millions of people in Nigeria and elsewhere) learned about asphyxia during his undergraduate studies several years ago. He wanted to apply his engineering education to solving the problem. Onu later read about a piece of research from the 1970s that established a connection between voice and asphyxia, and he began wondering about the connection between the condition and a newborn’s cry.