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Contxto – With the objective of detecting symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19), there are startups in Latam working to integrate thermaltechnology and artificial intelligence (AI) into surveillance systems. But Colombian Predicto AI is applying a different take on this technology into a smaller, handheld format: smartphones.
Interestingly, it aims to do so by capturing variations in a person’s heartrate.
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Predicto AI and the tell-tale heart
Heart rate variability (HRV) is the variance in time between the beats of a human heart. According to Predicto AI’s CEO, Andrés Cuestas, HRV is an indicator of the nervous system’s overall health. Irregular patterns of HRV may be a sign of infection and the nervous system’s reaction to it. And the Colombian healthtech is acting on this principle.
Predicto AI is developing an algorithm that uses transdermal optical imaging (TOI). TOI works with video feed to detect the tiniest physiological changes in a face. These changes are so small that they cannot be caught by the eye, but by the program. So besides HRV, it can also reportedly be trained to detect other factors such as blood pressure.
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This technology doesn’t exactly tell a person they’re infected with Covid-19. But it does let them know something is amiss. Predicto AI wants to make the technology as accessible as possible via a phone’s camera.
Particularly, Cuestas envisions the startup’s solution as a way to monitor the health of employees who must still visit the workplace.
More healthtechs with “TOIs” to come
Research into TOI is still underway. However it does have potential in revolutionizing healthcare in two big ways.
First, it offers a non-invasive way of measuring a person’s stress levels and detecting key health-related indicators. Secondly, since the data can be picked up via a camera, TOI can be useful for remote consultations and follow-up with patients.
As telemedicine gains ground—courtesy of Covid-19—it will grow in sophistication that goes beyond videoconferencing. It’s within that sphere that TOI tech can contribute signficantly.
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