Pune, Aug. 11 (ANI/NewsVoir): Founded in 2015, the Boston-based company has raised $19 million for its technology that uses short voice recordings to reveal the progress of health problems.
On Thursday, Sonde announced a new partnership with chip maker Qualcomm that could potentially bring the technology to millions of smartphones, which could be a crucial test to determine if the technology is prime time ready.
Sonde’s technology – based on more than 1 million voice samples from 80,000 people – uses subtle features of the voice collected for this purpose to determine that you may have a medical condition. It claims the technology can be used to detect symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and COVID-19, as well as features of what it calls “mental fitness.”
Sonde’s new partnership could help the startup reach a much wider audience by integrating its technology directly into Qualcomm 888 and 778 5G chips that will be used in leading mid-range and top-end phones by the end of this year and into 2022. manufacturers. Several devices that use the 888, including phones from Samsung and Sony, have already shipped and Sonde’s capabilities will be available to them as well. The recently announced 888+ will also have Probe capabilities when released.
Sonde CEO David Liu predicts that as smartphone makers continue to compete on features, health technologies will become a key differentiator.
“I think it will stand out in its absence, rather than having one manufacturer that has all these great innovations in health protection [and] surveillance,” he told STAT.
It’s up to phone makers like Samsung to decide if they want to take advantage of Sonde’s technology – at a price – and how to use it. If phone manufacturers choose to buy in, users can have their voice analyzed through a built-in feature already installed in the phone.
How the tool is used — including whether it’s a one-time measurement or collecting samples in the background without having to be activated — depends on the manufacturer’s preferences. Each deployment requires a user to sign in and the company says no data will be sent to third parties.
While smartphones are the technology’s most obvious application, Liu suggests such integration could easily find its way into in-car information systems, smart speakers, and other Qualcomm-powered home appliances.
One smartphone maker that won’t be taking up the Probe technology anytime soon: Apple, which is developing its own chips. But Liu points out how the tech giant is removing some of the roadblocks that have long hindered advanced speech-based technologies. At the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple announced that its voice-activated assistant Siri will fully process speech on devices, allowing many requests to be completed without access to the Internet, breaking the cloud connection currently needed even for simple Siri queries. .
On-device processing can speed up the analysis of voice recordings and help ensure the privacy of the captured data, which has long been a concern around voice-enabled features. Removing friction from the experience, Liu argued, could open the door to wider adoption of the vocal technologies such as the biomarker system Sonde has developed and illustrate the potential value of incorporating its technology into smartphones.
“What it means is that during the day, as you speak into the phone to Siri or whatever you use your voice to, your smartphone turns into a fitness tracker,” says Liu. “You can basically use your smartphone like it’s your Apple Watch, like it’s your Fitbit wristband, like it’s your Oura ring. But you don’t need those devices. That’s the biggest game changer for me. [on-device] processing permits.”
In addition to its ambitions to sell to phone manufacturers, Sonde will soon be detailing a consumer app that will allow users to track the progress of their mental fitness. Probe has also created tools so that third-party mental health apps can easily record the biomarkers to track how well treatments are working. The company has been investigating how it can use its biomarkers to help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs. It says it has 16 partners using its technology.
As Sonde seeks to differentiate itself, Sonde’s integration with Qualcomm chips provides a high-profile partner that could expand its reach. Qualcomm will soon begin marketing the technology to manufacturers eager to get ahead of Apple, which, given its focus on health and voice, may also have a similar function in the offing.
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