A visit to a new mother’s house or the newborn ward is enough to show you that newborn babies are synonymous with crying. However, babies cry for different reasons. It can be because they are hungry, exhausted or have colic. Colic is a condition where an infant cries for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week and for more than three weeks. Babies from 0 to 6 months cry a lot which may be harmless but can also be a signal that something is wrong and requires urgent attention. If the latter is the case, delayed diagnosis may lead to severe, long-lasting effects or fatality. Ubenwa is an AI-based solution that helps parents and clinicians diagnose babies from their cries.
Ubenwa is a health tech startup that leverages both artificial intelligence and machine learning to diagnose infants of 0–6 months through their cries. The startup is based in Montreal and was founded in 2017 by Charles Onu. A Nigerian with vast experience in both the medical field and extensive AI practice. Ubenwa has developed algorithms for cry activity tracking, acoustic biomarker detection and anomaly prediction. That way, they can track babies’ cries to detect anomalies and provide relevant insights and potential diagnoses. What this means is that Ubenwa is building a diagnostic tool that helps parents and clinicians understand when a baby’s cry is harmless and when it’s a cry for medical attention.
Ubenwa’s goal is to be a translator for baby cry sounds, providing a non-invasive way to monitor medical conditions everywhere you find a baby: delivery rooms, neonatal and paediatric intensive care units, nurseries, and in the home. The health tech is secure and reliable because it is built on a foundation of scientific research and developed in close partnership with Mila, and six hospitals in three countries, including Montreal Children’s Hospital, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, Rivers State Teaching Hospital in Nigeria and Santa Casa de Misericordia in Brazil.
Currently, Ubenwa is a pioneering developer of diagnostic software for the rapid detection of medical anomalies in infant cry sounds. It has raised $2.5 million in pre-seed funding led by artificial intelligence (AI)-focused Radical Ventures and AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio while AIX Ventures, a fund co-founded by AI researchers and entrepreneurs Pieter Abbeel and Richard Socher, and Google Brain’s Hugo Larochelle and Marc Bellemare participated. The new funding will enable the startup to speed up their research and to complete the clinical validation of their technology in multiple markets including Canada/US, Brazil, and Nigeria. Also, it will launch an app that caters to consumers such as parents to enable them to get deep insights from their infants’ daily cry activity.
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It is already allowing parents and hospitals to sign up on its platform as early users of Ubenwa’s app to test how effective and efficient it will be. Mind you, the app is not yet for the public, rather it is a private testing venture to help it gather comprehensive use-case data, which will be used to develop Ubenwa’s suite of infants’-cry-diagnosing software.
Babies don’t talk, they can only express themselves through cries. A new mother is usually thrown into a quandary when her baby cries non-stop. Ubenwa wants to put an end to this. Its technology will help new mothers know when their babies cry due to hunger, and exhaustion and when it’s a signal of health problems. The app is still being tested but new mothers and expecting mothers are encouraged when it launches.Featured Image Source: Techcrunch
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