It's estimated that every year in the US there are 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related traumatic brain injuries. And if not diagnosed in a timely and accurate manner, they can lead to further complications including depression and even suicide. So researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed a voice recognition iPad app that listens for signs of a brain injury in someone's speech, providing an almost instant diagnosis.
What's particularly brilliant is that the test doesn't have to be administered by a doctor or even a medic. As long as an athlete can hold an iPad, they can perform the requisite steps in the test.
The app first records a baseline sample of the subject reading a series of phrases before a competition. And then after the event, or after a particularly dreadful injury, they read the same phrases again which the software compares to the original recording looking for brain injury symptoms like distorted vowels, imprecise consonant pronunciation, and hyper nasality. Not only is it remarkably accurate, but the test can't be fooled by an athlete hoping to stay in the game. [University of Notre Dame via Gizmag]