Date: 19th November 2019
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming healthcare and it is starting to provide relief for many pressurised healthcare systems across the world by revolutionising clinical practices. Whilst the role of AI in healthcare is multifaceted, one area emerging to have a strong AI presence is diagnostics.
The diagnosis of some illnesses relies on expertise and experience, recognising and deciphering often small changes against background ‘noise’. This where AI excels and acquiring these skills can be accelerated. The ability to analyse large datasets, recognise patterns, learn and adapt makes machine learning and AI a powerful, quick-to-learn, diagnostic tool. Indeed, there are also cases where AI-driven diagnostic tools outperform diagnosticians in the clinic.
Now Winterlight Labs has announced it has raised $5.6M in series A funding to accelerate its AI-based vocal diagnostic system for cognitive and mental disorders.
Winterlight Labs, based in Toronto, Canada, has developed a proprietary AI technology that amalgamates computational linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and machine learning. The tablet-based assessment is fast, objective, and easy to use, allowing healthcare professionals to assess and analyse the cognitive health of the patient.
The tech works by capturing short snippets of speech on the tablet. The AI algorithm then objectively measures cognition via hundreds of vocal biomarkers detected in the speech and language.
The novel approach can accurately and rapidly detect a range of cognitive and mental disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer’s or aphasia (resulting from brain injury most commonly caused by strokes).
Hikma Ventures, a venture capital arm of London-based Hikma Pharmaceuticals, led the round of funding. Their aim; to increase their market intelligence and future pipelines by investing in emerging global companies in the digital health space.
Winterlight will use the funding to extend its technology to additional indications, such as schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, as well as additional languages.
Winterlight’s speech assessments can also be run on iPhones and it is hoped that vocal diagnosis can be used to assess the effectiveness of medication in diseases such as depression.
It is hoped that by securing this funding it will help improve patient treatments by objectively measuring response to therapy in the real world through speech.
For more information please read the press release
For more information on Winterlight Labs please see our digital biology maps