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New technology to detect Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) mirror is being developed to detect symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in the home.

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) mirror by Lookinglass will keep elderly people at home for longer and reduce physical appointments. [Source: Lookinglass].
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) mirror by Lookinglass will keep elderly people at home for longer and reduce physical appointments. [Source: Lookinglass].

The AI mirror is an extension of the web app which was launched in late March to detect early stages of Parkinson’s disease, and is being created at the University of South Australia’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre in Adelaide by Lookinglass.

The aim of the mirror is to keep elderly people at home for longer and reduce physical appointment visits with doctors and occupational therapists.

Both the web app and the mirror will make life simpler for people living in remote locations.

Chief Executive Officer Kelly Carpenter says the app, and mirror when it is released, are a welcome improvement to telehealth technologies and for occupational therapists working with patients in regional areas.

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

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

“We want to help communities that need it the most by removing the barrier to accessing expert healthcare.”

Lookinglass will create a digital display visible through the mirror and can ask the user to do evaluation exercises.

Exercises test for symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and are based on standardised tests implemented by occupational therapists and doctors.

The person performs everyday tasks or structured exercises in front of the camera and an AI-driven computer programme in the mirror assesses the video for signs and severity of symptoms.

Family members and health professionals can access the web interface and view a “movement skeleton” of the motion along with the corresponding report.

The web app works in a similar way with users uploading a video recording, which tracks the movement while uploaded and compares the information with known Parkinson’s symptoms.

The Alzheimer’s testing is cognitive based but is also mapped by the program.

Chief Technology Officer of Lookinglass, Simon Cullen, an artificial intelligence and computing specialist, says the mirror has two ways of evaluating someone, either in a passive way by watching them doing their normal routine or through active games.

Mr Cullen says he set out to recreate the 15 step evaluation doctors and occupational therapists do to test for Alzheimer’s and to evaluate how long someone can live by themselves before needing full-time care.

Mr Cullen says, “One of the greatest motivators I’ve found for elderly people being put into care facilities is that their families are worried about them and unsure if they are okay to still be living on their own. It can push them out of their home before they need to go.

“But by having this system, they can get some information from the regular testing and it gives them reassurance.

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

The mirror software and web app has been tested for Parkinson’s disease with 16 occupational therapists and at nursing homes in South Australia.

At the end of the year, the Lookinglass company hope to have an advanced prototype of the mirror ready.

Lookinglass want to get people involved in the project, go to their website to fill out an online form and register your interest.

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