A winning idea: Using Watson to gauge risk for mental disorders

Mon, 2016-05-16 08:15 -- Compassionate C...

Once they graduate from college, Kathryn Hodge and Tae Hong Min look forward to developing the Eliza app that won them the Watson prize at the recent TechCrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon.

IBM Watson is a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. Hodge is a computer science major and film minor at Vassar College. Min is a computer science and business major at Lehigh University.

The Eliza app Hodge and Min conceived records voice memos on a person's mobile in real time and uses Watson’s Speech to Text technology to translate the memo, query and determine the person's mental state. So it allows users to measure their emotional health and risk level for a mental disorder.

Mining sentiment analysis
“The core feature of our app is based on mining sentiment analysis," Hodge explains. She and Min developed a way to grab relevant sentiment analysis that could help a user learn more about his or her psychological well-being and risk for mental disorders.

Min said the idea came from previous hackathons, where they noticed there weren't many technologies focused on people’s well-being. "We are passionate about building technology to help others in need – specifically in the health sector – as effectively and efficiently as possible,” he told Lisa Kay Davis for a post on the IBM Watson blog. (IBM is a Council Lead Partner.)

Potentially groundbreaking
“Eliza is very interesting because of the creative and potentially groundbreaking application of IBM Watson’s powerful Natural Language Processing technologies in the space of mental health," noted Michael Ludden, IBM Watson Product Management Developer Relations. "Understanding the context of someone’s mood over time could turn out to be a valuable tool for not only end users, but also mental health professionals who could gain crucial insight into their patients’ needs and pain points."

More on technology and mental health…
Can technology battle mental illness – and win?
Case study: Using the Microsoft cloud technology for online psychotherapy
Video: Technology for mental health


This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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