An effort to use voice-assistant devices like Amazon’s Alexa to detect signs of memory problems in people has gotten a boost with a grant from the federal government.
Researchers from Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the University of Massachusetts Boston will get a four-year $1.2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. The team hopes to develop a system that would use machine and deep learning techniques to detect changes in speech patterns to determine if someone is a risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The system, in theory, would aim to pick up changes in a person’s speech pattern, intonation and lexicon, he said. But researchers also would have to figure out how to make the system work for a myriad of languages, when there are multiple people speaking in the room, or when someone mumbles or doesn’t speak clearly.