CES 2022: Bosch tests deep audio AI developed on the ISS to detect asthma in kids


Doctors will use a high-resolution microphone to record children as they speak and breathe to look for breathing problems.

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Bosch is working with a pediatric research institute and a health insurance company to test its SoundSee deep audio analysis to detect asthma and other breathing problems in kids.

Image: Bosch

Bosch has something for everyone at this year’s CES 2022 event: a home security system, an electric bike, an oven that uses artificial intelligence, smart glasses, a robot lawnmower and even a charging station.

One digital health product didn’t make it into the #LikeaBosch tech-smart Mom video despite its connection to families. Bosch and Highmark Health announced a new research project to use deep audio analysis to detect breathing problems in kids on Tuesday, Jan. 4. This artificial intelligence tool could help doctors spot the signs of asthma.

Bosch, Highmark Health, a health insurance provider in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York; and a pediatric research institute are planning a clinical trial during the first quarter. Researchers will test the idea that data collected during an exam can be used to spot audio patterns that suggest breathing problems. If the initial analysis detects an abnormality, the patient would follow up with a pediatrician for further review.

Kelly J. Shields, a senior research data scientist at Highmark Health, said in a press release that the collaboration between Bosch, Highmark Health and the Pediatric Institute of Allegheny Health Network has the potential to transform the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and other breathing disorders.

“This unique collaboration between two industry leaders fits squarely with our mission of exploring technological innovations that can improve the health and wellness of our patients and members,” Shields said. 

Joseph Aracri, a pediatrician and chair of the institute, will conduct the first feasibility study in a small group of kids. During a patient’s visit to the pediatric clinic, the high-resolution microphone will capture the sounds as the children speak and breathe. The sounds will then be processed and added as a feature into the algorithm and machine learning techniques along with clinically relevant information and the child’s diagnosis.

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The technology comes from the company’s work in outer space. SoundSee uses algorithms that process audio signals to interpret sounds in a particular environment. The platform also listens to ambient noise and maps multiple sound sources. In 2019, Bosch sent SoundSee to the International Space Station as a way to monitor safety. Mini-robots used microphones to record the sound of machinery and equipment on the station. Bosch researchers back on Earth analyzed the data to look for problems. 

“It has always been the vision of Bosch that the SoundSee technology would have applications beyond space,” Samarjit Das, leader of the Intelligent Internet of Things group at Bosch Research, said in a press release. “Our new research collaboration with Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network is another important step in demonstrating the potential of this technology–and specifically artificial intelligence–to provide benefits to humankind.”

Bosch has several patents on SoundSee AI technology for consumer and industrial applications such as environmental audio event recognition and machine health monitoring.

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