Defense Department, Philips expand AI research for early detection infectious diseases

The U.S. Defense Department and Philips are expanding their joint research of an artificial intelligence-based system that can identify signs of infectious disease before symptoms begin. 

The system, dubbed Rapid Analysis of Threat Exposure, will be used to create a new prototype as part of the department’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The expanded research will focus on using wearable technologies such as watches and rings to capture vital sign and biomarker information from a dozen different cohorts in clinical trials. 

The RATE system integrates with consumer wearables to measure biomarkers, and that data is then processed in the cloud to allow users to see their hourly measurements. U.S. military units began deploying the RATE-COVID-19 system in June, and the study is expected to increase to several thousand participants in the next few weeks. The researchers are designing the system to eventually work with all off-the-shelf wearables. 

The AI-powered system uses large-scale data machine learning analyses across 165 different biomarkers from a Philips data set of more than 41,000 cases of hospital acquired infection. The system then takes the user’s biomarkers to calculate a risk score, which works for multiple general types of infection, including COVID-19. The researchers  also hope to apply the technology in hospitals, using it to monitor patients for infection before they show clinical symptoms. 

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