Researchers with the Embedded Systems Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne are developing a diagnostic test on a smartphone app that works by “listening” to the sound of the user’s cough. Called Coughvid.
The World Health Organization reports that two-thirds of COVID-19 patients exhibit a dry cough as opposed to the typical wet cough people often experience with the common cold or allergies.
Scientists have used cough sounds to diagnose whooping cough, asthma and pneumonia in the past. This new diagnostic test uses machine learning algorithms “to determine what kind of frequencies the cough is made up of,” says Lara Orlandic, a research assistant on the project.
The mobile app has not been developed yet, but volunteers can upload their cough recordings to the project’s website. Users are kept anonymous, but they are asked for permission to save their location, Orlandic says. The end goal is to share that information with local governments so they can understand where the virus is spreading.