PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they have created an app that can determine whether you might have COVID-19, just by analyzing your voice.
The team of CMU researchers in Pittsburgh say the app is just in its beginning stages, and has not been approved by the FDA or CDC.
“I’ve seen a lot of competition for the cheapest, fastest diagnosis you can have,” said Benjamin Striner, a Carnegie Mellon graduate student who worked on the project, in an interview with Futurism. “And there are some pretty good ones that are actually really cheap and pretty accurate, but nothing’s ever going to be as cheap and as easy as speaking into a phone.”
You can use the COVID Voice Detector now to analyze your voice for signs of infection, but researchers it shouldn’t be solely used as a substitute for a medical test or examination.
Carnegie Mellon professor Bhiksha Raj, who also worked on the project, told Futurism, “we have it out there to let people know how it currently performs, but the primary objective of our effort/website at this point of time is to collect large numbers of voice recordings that we could use to refine the algorithm into something we — and the medical community — are confident about.”
The team believes the app could be a valuable tool in tracking the spread of the virus, especially as they collect more data.
“If the app is to be put out as a public service, it, and our results, will have to be verified by medical professionals, and attested by an agency such as the CDC,” Raj added. “Until that happens, it’s still very much an experimental and untrustworthy system.”
Researchers conclude that it’s unlikely the app will ever be as accurate as a lab test.
The app works like this: if you have a smartphone or a computer with a microphone, users are prompted to cough several times and record a number of vowel sounds, as well as reciting the alphabet. Then it provides a score, expressed as a download-style progress bar, representing how likely the algorithm believes it is that the user has COVID-19.
To use the COVID Voice Detector app, click here.