The new AI system has been trained to spot Parkinson’s by looking at existing video footage of patients. The video analysis was done in collaboration with Kings College Hospital in London.
Ma ”Pony” Huateng, chairman and chief executive officer of Tencent Holdings Ltd. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg.
Dr Wei Fan, head of Tencent Medical AI Lab, said: “Tencent provides the AI technology and capabilities for the video analysis of Parkinson’s disease motor function which will be used in Medopad’s mobile medical application. This technology can help promote early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, screening, and daily evaluations of key functions.
“The goal of Tencent and Medopad’s collaboration is to help expand the remit of AI-powered movement assessment from sport and exercise to medicine and to reduce the cost of motor function assessment.”
The duo wants to reduce the time it takes to do the motor function assessment process from over 30 minutes down to less than 3 minutes. The test could potentially be done using smartphone technology developed by Medopad, eliminating the need for a hospital visit.
Founded in 2011, Medopad develops apps and wearables to keep tabs on patients with various health conditions.
Dan Vahdat, CEO and founder of Medopad, said: “Our partnership with Tencent comes from a shared vision to change the future of healthcare as we know it. In combining Medopad’s medical expertise and Tencent’s technical capabilities, we hope to provide the technology needed to support clinicians to predict preventable complications for people with Parkinson’s disease. Working together we can achieve our vision to help more than 1 billion patients live longer and continue doing great work.”
Tencent isn’t the only tech giant making tentative moves into healthcare. Facebook and Google both have research teams looking at how machine learning can be used to teach AI systems to spot early signs of things like cancer and eye diseases, while Apple has kitted its new Apple Watch out with various health monitoring sensors.