MIT Developed An AI Tool To Detect COVID-19 By Coughing Into Your Phone

One of the reasons that it is so hard to detect who has COVID-19 is that the symptoms can greatly vary. Some people can have no symptoms, despite being infected and able to spread the disease. Other people may have symptoms very similar to other conditions such as allergies, colds, or the flu.

Based on the symptoms alone, we have a difficult time determining if someone has COVID-19. But, a new AI program may be able to tell if a cough is from COVID-19 or not.

Researchers at MIT trained AI to identify COVID-19 coughs.

The team recently published their work in the IEEE Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology. The AI trained with a database of 4,256 coughs.

Using this information, the AI learned that there were subtle differences in the sound of the coughs. Their model correctly identifies COVID-19 98.5% of the time.

The researchers are now creating an app.


An app could test coughs for COVID-19 on a phone. This could become a new non-invasive mobile method to test people for COVID-19. People could even test themselves and keep a log of their coughs on their phones.

It likely wouldn't replace a formal test but it could help identify who should be tested.

The hope is that this new test could help people screen themselves.


Brian Subirana, one of the authors of the study, said in an MIT news release:

"The effective implementation of this group diagnostic tool could diminish the spread of the pandemic if everyone uses it before going to a classroom, a factory, or a restaurant."

The strength of the test is that it can identify asymptomatic people.


As we have all gotten more aware of when we cough, I'm sure you have noticed that you often cough even if you are not sick. There are a lot of normal healthy reasons to cough.

This test could analyze those coughs for signs of COVID-19. This helps to identify people with COVID-19 even if they have no symptoms.

Self-isolation has become the best tool to fight COVID-19.

Unsplash | Arturo Rey

If people with COVID-19 stay home, we are all much safer. But not everyone knows that they have COVID-19. This tool can help determine if asymptomatic people have COVID-19.

It can't replace current testing, but it will add to our arsenal of tools.

h/t: MIT News