2022 Speech Industry Award Winner: Aural Analytics Makes Speech Vital to Health Care
The U.S. National Institutes of Health this past July awarded a $1.4 million grant to Aural Analytics, a Scottsdale, Ariz., startup that is on the cutting edge of voice biomarker technology.
The grant will help Aural Analytics, which was founded in 2015, in its mission to create a tool that measures speech signals that could be used by speech language pathologists and medical specialists to identify health problems, diseases, or injuries before other symptoms emerge.
Central to Aural Analytics’ work in voice biomarker technology is its Speech Vitals technology, which analyzes speech objectively and in finer resolution than the human ear can perceive to capture subtle yet clinically meaningful information related to human health. It leverages signal processing and artificial intelligence to analyze uploaded speech, fine motor, and linguistic samples to help medical professionals assess cognitive, motor, respiratory, and behavioral health.
The healthcare community continues to recognize the power of speech analysis to help identify and track motor, cognitive, and respiratory diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Alzheimer’s, stroke, COPD, migraine, and schizophrenia, and so it’s no surprise that Speech Vitals is now being used in 30 concurrent clinical studies, with two major partner signings just since the start of the summer.
The first, inked in late June, pairs Aural’s Speech Vitals with Koneksa digital biomarker technology to aid clinical trials of pharmaceuticals. The goal of this integration is to make it easy to add speech measures to Koneksa’s studies and digital biomarker development programs.
“We’re excited to work with Aural Analytics to integrate speech collection in our clinical trials,” said Chris Benko, CEO and cofounder of Koneksa, in a statement at the time. “Through this partnership, our teams will develop best-in-class digital biomarkers to pioneer a better care experience with a particular focus in neurodegenerative conditions.”
Through the second pairing, signed in late July, Medidata’s Sensor Cloud Network now includes Aural Analytics’ Speech Vitals to expand the critical data streams available for researchers to leverage in their studies.
“Speech is an important data stream complementing existing Sensor Cloud biometrics, enabling deeper insights into our patients’ journey,” said Ben Schlatka, vice president of digital biomarker solutions at Medidata, in a statement at the time.
But Speech Vitals is not the only one of Aural Analytics’ technologies. The company also offersA2E, a mobile application software development kit and web API for speech collection and cloud-based analytics across clinical research and health applications and for in-clinic and remote settings.
A2E system enables speech collection and analytics via embeddable short, simple speech tasks. It is currently available in 14 languages and complies with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and other data privacy regulations.
Aural Analytics CEO Judy Smythe says her company’s goal and central mission is “to develop best-in-class, clinical-grade speech analytics” and to make speech analytics “an essential element of best-in-class digital biomarkers, which in time will further the fields of research and clinical care across neurodegenerative conditions.”
Aural Analytics' Speech Vitals technology will be used for a study to track the progression of Lou Gehrig's disease in patients.