Emotional analysis technology developed by software solutions provider Opsis Emotion AI will be piloted over the next two years in a programme targeting more than 4,300 seniors in Singapore.
The programme will see a collaboration between Opsis and social services agency Lions Befrienders (LB). Through the use of Opsis’ emotion analysis software, counsellers from LB are expected to be able to diagnose seniors more accurately for mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression.
WHAT IT DOES
Leveraging artificial intelligence technology, responses and facial expressions captured on video are analysed by the software to determine a person’s mental state. It will then present heat maps of that person’s positive and negative emotions.
According to Andrew Ow, CEO and co-founder of Opsis, the tool can aid in detecting mental health issues, particularly in reticent people who may not be open to discussing their mental health conditions.
“The objective is to assist healthcare professionals deal more effectively with mental health issues in people who are suffering in silence. With this tool, we could help prevent behavioural and psychological deterioration, and improve quality of life,” he said.
He added that Opsis’ software could also help provide early warnings of suicidal tendencies, helping care professionals detect mental health issues through tele-counselling in order to address them early.
WHY IT MATTERS
By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged over 65 years, and by 2050, the number is expected to rise to one in two. In present day, LB serves close to 7,600 seniors in rental flats.
The social service agency said that the Opsis software will supplement existing mental health screening protocol by allowing counsellors to provide more accurate virtual care to elderly patients.
The programme’s pilot phase with Lion Befrienders is intended to see counsellors match data derived from the software with their own findings to determine overall efficacy.
Should this community pilot initiative be successful, the tool may be used to serve other beneficiaries in the social services sector, such as people with special needs.
THE LARGER TREND
In an interview with MobiHealthNews, Ow mentioned that Opsis is currently working with two public hospitals specialising in neuroscience along with with six social service agencies to aid care professionals in identifying signs of depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, psychosis, hallucinations and pain.
“[One of the goals] of these partnerships is to aid self-help management and behavioural therapy with pre/post metrics over a period of time that helps track a person’s healing progress,” Ow said.
He added that annotated data helps identify signs of depression, anxiety, grief, and pain, and can be used as a tool to help people create awareness of their emotional states and regulate their emotions better.
“Our annotated datasets from the clinical, health, counselling and psychological fields are used to train our machine-learning algorithm to recognise emotions at a minute scale that can be used to aid assessment and tracking of mental health wellness,” Ow explained.
Technology that analyses facial expressions has been around since at least 2003, and has evolved significantly since. Another tech company in this space is Massachusetts-based emotions analytics company Affectiva. In 2016, the company raised $14m for its emotion analytics platform, with the aim of expanding globally.