Ubenwa Intelligence Solutions is a speech analytics company leveraging artificial intelligence and mobile computing to address the world's biggest challenges in healthcare. Their pioneer product Ubenwa is a cry-based diagnostic mobile app for birth asphyxia. Ubenwa uses the audio processing and computational capabilities of smart mobile devices to analyse newborns' cry and provide a qualitative assessment of whether or not the newborn has or is at risk of asphyxia. It is a response to the pressing need for useful, affordable and sustainable medical tools/devices that can help tackle the high rate of neonatal morbidity and mortality.
Birth Asphyxia is one of the top 3 causes of infant mortality in the world, causing the death of about 1.2 million infants and severe life-long disabilities (such as cerebral palsy, deafness, and paralysis) to an equal number annually. Ubenwa, a Nigerian startup, is developing a machine learning system that can take as input the infant cry, analyse the amplitude and frequency patterns in the cry, in order to provide the instant diagnosis of birth asphyxia.
The test results from Ubenwa' diagnostic software have shown a Sensitivity of over 86% and Specificity of 89%. Founders began technical validation to connect newborns cry and Perinatal Asphyxia in 2012-2014. During this period, they sought for sample data and iterated on several algorithms for predicting Asphyxia. The result was a unique algorithm that uses digital biomarkers.
In 2015, Ubenwa in collaboration with the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), has formally obtained ethical approval to carry out clinical trials of the system over a period of 8 months. For testing, the developed algorithm has been deployed as a mobile app which harnesses the processing capabilities of smartphones to provide a near-instantaneous assessment of whether or not a newborn has or is at risk of asphyxia. Ubenwa is non-invasive and can be over 95% cheaper than existing clinical alternative.
In 2017, the spinoff has been selected as one of 141 teams from around the world to compete in the IBM AI XPrize. The AI XPrize is a $5million contest aiming to reward teams applying AI to address grand challenges.