Mohammad H. Mahoor, PhD | Dream Face Technologies, LLC & University of Denver; Eshrat S. Emamian, DDS, PhD | Dream Face Technologies, LLC; Hojjat Abdollahi, MS | Dream Face Technologies, LLC; Hiroko Dodge, PhD | Oregon Health and Science University
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Awardee Year: 2022
Due to our seniors’ increasing social isolation caused by COVID-19 and projected shortages of caregivers, quality conversations with other human beings will decrease. We will address problems associated with limited human interaction by the design and development of a relatable and caring virtual agent, as a mobile application called MyRyan, featuring emotion recognition, conversation, voice instruction, and the monitoring of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults with MCI. Our multidisciplinary team is essential for an efficacious conversationalist machine and has complementary expertise in computing, machine learning, data science, cognitive rehabilitation, geropsychology, healthy aging research, along insight from caregivers. MyRyan’s AI will actively engage individuals in conversation about personalized topics of interest by adapting to the user’s language abilities and personal interests. Improvements in the well-being of individuals with MCI through meaningful conversations with MyRyan can reduce mental, physical, and financial burdens, which this study will quantitatively and qualitatively measure. Our invention can lessen the healthcare industry’s burdens of limited caregivers and address other pandemic impacts such as loneliness in the elderly population. To date, a conversational agent engaging seniors in open and personalized conversations on topics of interest is beyond the state-of-the-art. The proposed technical advancement will give seniors with MCI a cost-effective opportunity to increase social interaction by communicating, sharing experiences and memories, and laughing with an empathic and intelligent chatbot.
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