SK Telecom (SKT) announced on Monday that it began testing an artificial intelligence (AI)-based program capable of detecting dementia by analyzing a person’s speech patterns. South Korea’s leading mobile carrier joined hands with Seoul National University‘s school of medicine to develop the system last year.
SK Telecom and Seoul National University aim to commercialize the program, starting with preliminary tests this month. SK Telecom said that they would conduct the tests at major hospitals and in elderly care centers.
The AI-based dementia detection system allows early diagnosis of the disease by evaluating signs and symptoms following a deterioration in memory, behavior, thinking, and ability to perform daily activities.
The program would analyze mental health by listening to the patient’s speech to detect characteristics only found in dementia patients.
SKT developed the program into an online application that patients could access quickly and costs less than regular examinations. Also, patients could get tested through the smartphone app without visiting hospitals or medical facilities.
Additionally, SK Telecom would improve the AI program next year by including facial recognition.
Digital Transformation in Healthcare
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affects brain cells to deteriorate and stop working. The disease disrupts a person’s ability to think and function normally, eventually leading to memory loss. Patients with dementia could get help from community health facilities offering dementia screening, counseling, and prevention programs.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare reported that 750,000 patients suffer dementia as of 2018 due to the country’s rapidly aging population. The number of dementia patients would reach 1.36 million in 2030 and 3.3 million by 2060.
Last October, SK Telecom launched an innovative cognitive analysis system to detect symptoms of dementia. The technology uses VR headsets connected to 5G-based mobile edge computing networks. Senior citizens in Busan community centers experiencing mild cognitive disorders would also benefit from the system in November.
As it pushes for digital transformation, South Korea adopted AI robots and the internet of things (IoT) sensors to provide care services for elderlies. Elderly centers dealing with cognitive disorders like dementia and geriatric diseases already use these devices to support their programs.
Check out other must-read articles from KoreaTechToday:
- SK Telecom’s NUGU MindView Ensure Mind Health Amid Social Distancing
- AI Based Alzheimer’s Prevention Program Launched by SK Telecom
- KT, NGeneBio Inks Deal to Develop ICT-based Digital Healthcare Service
- Five Promising Korean AI Startups Transforming the Healthcare Industry