Artificial intelligence has helped us navigate our computer searches for work, school and leisure time. It also serves as the basis for efforts in making cars, trucks and drones fully autonomous. What AI can do in aiding what humans cannot do in enhancing various aspects of our lives is fascinating.
I have been amazed with AI in the past few weeks, learning about its history, understanding its current capabilities and where it’s going. To further my perspective on how AI is applied in real life, I recently interviewed employees at two local startup companies that are leveraging AI to transform their respective markets. Their work has motivated me to present this column as one in a two-part series focusing on AI.
AI: Then and now
Computer scientist John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence” in 1956. AI existed long before we knew of its application in robots, chatbots or code bots. It was widely adopted in the oil and gas industry in the form of industrial automation using smart sensors. For example, Shell has developed Smart Fields, which monitor oil and gas wells located in challenging areas, installing thousands of sensors on its equipment.
Today, the meaning of AI has evolved to signify mimicry of human intelligence or behaviors. AI has transitioned from intelligent machines that are coded with rules and can perform specific tasks to more self-aware machines that use advanced machine learning to learn from past experiences. This includes cognitive intelligence such as recognizing human behaviors and emotions, enabling intelligent machines to interact more naturally with humans.
Breakthrough in Telehealth
AI is no stranger to Cocoon Cam, a Mountain View startup founded by Pavan Kumar and Siva Nattamai. Both are accomplished computer science engineers with track records in their field. Cocoon Cam aims to democratize access to vital signs and health insights using its software platform that combines computer vision and AI to turn any camera into a remote health and vital sign monitor. The company’s first product is a smart baby monitor that can track a baby’s breathing patterns and sleep health for infants and toddlers up to 3 years old. It can even alert parents when their baby is beginning to wake up, has fallen asleep or is crying.
“Cocoon Cam is unique because it’s a completely noninvasive solution, requiring no connected wires or wearables, that parents can feel safe and confident in using to get a full view on their baby’s vitals 24/7, simply by reading passive data collected from a video feed of the baby’s monitor,” Kumar said.
The company has a goal to build a baseline of a baby’s health and predict any anomalies in the baby’s health patterns as time progresses. A scenario shared by Nattamai: When a baby is sick, the parents want to know if the medication given is helping. In future releases, parents will be able to see that the medication is working, and that the baby’s breathing rate has been brought back to its normal range.
“We believe that longitudinal, continuous remote health monitoring is more effective in early diagnosis because the onset of most illnesses leads to a patient’s vital sign changes, such as breathing, temperature or heart rates,” Kumar said. “Having reliable, historical data and using AI to analyze the data … (means) doctors can have a more holistic view of their patient’s health, and can make decisions in advocating for better care.”
Launched just over a year ago, the team at Cocoon Cam continues to advance its product closer to their vision of Telehealth – a system for managing health care via telecommunications technologies – making it widely accessible and affordable. Cocoon Cam also plans to offer subscription services to parents who wish to access their baby’s historical vital sign data and share it with their pediatricians for effective, managed care.
For more information on Cocoon Cam, visit cocooncam.com.