AI-Powered App Deciphers Baby Cries Boosts Parent-Child Communication

A startup backed by Yoshua Bengio has used AI to translate more than one million baby cries into English and French

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

April 25, 2024

2 Min Read
Four phone displays showing an app that translates baby cries into actionable insights
Ubenwa Health

A Canadian medical technology company has developed an AI-powered app that can translate a baby's cries to help parents better understand their child’s needs.

Ubenwa Health introduced Nanni AI, a mobile app designed to offer insights into everyday parenting concerns, such as detecting when a child may be hungry or tired.

Parents can use the app to track their children’s routines and use voice commands to follow feeding schedules and diaper changes. Parents can also interact with the app’s built-in chatbot for support.

Ubenwa says the Nanni AI app has translated more than 1 million baby cries into English and French, having been trained on thousands of clinically labeled recordings of infants crying.

The app could also help with detecting medical issues. Ubenwa research shows Nanni AI can detect signs of birth asphyxia, a respiratory condition in infants, in cries with an accuracy of 92.5%.

“With a newborn in their arms, parents can find the first few visits with their baby's doctor overwhelming,” said Samantha Latremouille, Ubenwa co-founder. “There are just so many details to remember about everything their baby goes through daily, from sleeping and crying to feeding and pooping.

“Beyond a cry translator, our goal is to empower parents during these visits by providing them with an easy-to-use tool to track and create accurate summaries of their baby's health.”

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Founded in 2017, Ubenwa Health builds AI-powered sound-based medical diagnostics. Yoshua Bengio, a Turing Award winner and deep learning pioneer, joins Radical Ventures and AIX Ventures among Ubenwa’s backers.

The Montreal-based startup obtained recordings of infant cries from around the world, using the audio to train the model powering the app. The recordings were initially obtained as part of larger research efforts on risk factors for infants from neurological injuries.

They used the recordings to create the Nanni app which was released in beta in 2023. The app went on to be downloaded 100,000 times across 200 countries.

While currently available in limited languages, Ubenwa claims to have translated baby cries into underserved languages including Igbo, native to Nigeria.

“We believe that the sound of a baby’s cry is as important a vital sign as their heart rate, blood pressure, or temperature and is key to improving infant care,” said Charles Onu, Ubenwa’s CEO. “Nanni AI is a stepping stone towards making our cry-based technologies accessible to all parents and doctors.

“Our aim is to improve remote health monitoring by integrating clinical-grade solutions into the app.”

Related:AI-based analysis helps predict complications in future pregnancies

Ubenwa is working with hospitals to pilot its technology as well as conducting more clinical studies to expand the sound solution to cover more medical conditions.

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ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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