Web app to detect and track early-stage Parkinson's

Tuesday, 16 April, 2019

Web app to detect and track early-stage Parkinson's

Start-up company Lookinglass, based at the University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre, has launched an artificial intelligence web app that can detect early-stage Parkinson’s disease. It is designed to reduce the number of physical appointments required with doctors and occupational therapists and to keep people living in their own homes longer.

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity and slow, imprecise movement. As prevalence increases threefold after the age of 65, the growth rate in the number of people living with Parkinson’s is expected to increase dramatically as the Australian population ages.

To use the app, users simply upload a video recording of themselves to the Lookinglass website; while it uploads, the computer vision system simultaneously uses AI to track movement and compares it with known Parkinson’s symptoms. A ‘movement skeleton’ of what the person does and an associated report based on the range of movement in various joints and the presence of tremors is then accessible to family members and relevant health professionals through a web interface.

Lookinglass CEO Kelly Carpenter said the app comes as a welcome improvement to current telehealth technologies, especially for occupational therapists working with patients in remote areas.

“The problem for occupational therapists is in the ability to remotely assess patient movement using manual technology,” she said.

“Our solution removes the manual effort for diagnosis and reduces error caused by ineffective communication technologies.”

An extension of the app, known as an AI mirror, is now being developed by Simon Cullen, Lookinglass’s Chief Technology Officer and the app’s original creator. Intended to act as an extension of the app, the mirror should simplify the assessment process for occupational therapists. The software will be integrated with the smart mirror as a real-time video-based diagnostic tool, designed for ongoing interaction in the home and the monitoring of symptoms over time.

“It’s difficult for people in remote locations to access telehealth solutions and Parkinson’s disease makes it especially difficult for users to be able to push a button or press a touch-pad,” Cullen said.

“Our mirror will remove these barriers to accessing expert health care.”

The potential for this product has wide-reaching applications, especially for those who are isolated, living without assistance or in remote and regional areas. Outside of Parkinson’s diagnosis, other applications could include general fitness, health and wellness.

Lookinglass aims to have an advanced prototype of the mirror ready by the end of the year, in time to take it to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2020 and SXSW in Texas in March. In the meantime, interested parties can contact Lookinglass for access to the application via https://lookinglass.co/.

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