ISLAMABAD           -             Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have created an AI that listens for coughing and sneezing sounds to estimate what percentage of people in a public space have a respiratory illness. The device, called FluSense, was initially tested over an eight month period in four clinic waiting rooms on the university’s campus. In addition to recording ‘non-speech’ audio samples, FluSense is also equipped with a thermal camera to scan for people with elevated temperatures. According to its co-creator, Tauhidur Rahman, the device isn’t meant to single out individual cases of illness but capture trends at the population level to see if something is developing that may not yet have been picked up in medical testing. ‘I thought if we could capture coughing or sneezing sounds from public spaces where a lot of people naturally congregate, we could utilize this information as a new source of data for predicting epidemiologic trends,’ he told.