Stanford Student Wins 2022 European Patent Office’s Young Inventors Prize


22-year-old Erin Smith receives award for invention that can detect Parkinson’s disease earlier than traditional methods

  • European Patent Office honors young U.S. innovator for her facial recognition app that enables earlier detection and monitoring of Parkinson’s disease

  • The system uses artificial intelligence to detect tell-tale facial expressions that indicate the onset of Parkinson’s earlier than traditional motor symptom

  • The invention can predict Parkinson’s disease with around 95% accuracy

MUNICH, June 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The European Patent Office (EPO) today distinguished U.S. student and scientist Erin Smith with first place in the inaugural Young Inventors prize. Smith has developed an AI-powered app that uses video to detect minute facial expression changes that are indicative of Parkinson’s, enabling earlier diagnosis of the disease.

The European Patent Office (EPO) honored 22-year-old Stanford student and scientist Erin Smith with first place in the inaugural Young Inventors prize. Smith has developed an AI-powered app that uses video to detect minute facial expression changes that are indicative of Parkinson’s, enabling earlier diagnosis of the disease.

The European Patent Office (EPO) honored 22-year-old Stanford student and scientist Erin Smith with first place in the inaugural Young Inventors prize. Smith has developed an AI-powered app that uses video to detect minute facial expression changes that are indicative of Parkinson’s, enabling earlier diagnosis of the disease.

Erin Smith’s curiosity and determination from a very early age have enabled her to not only uncover new insight into the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease but also turn this into a practical tool for early diagnosis,” says António Campinos, President of the European Patent Office. “Through earlier intervention her invention has the potential to have a real impact on people’s lives by reducing disease symptoms, and I applaud her for being one of the first recipients of the Young Inventors prize.”

Erin Smith was honored at an event watched online by a worldwide audience to announce the winners of the 2022 edition of the European Inventor Award, one of Europe’s most prestigious innovation prizes. The EPO created the new Young Inventors prize under the auspices of the European Inventor Award especially for innovators under that age of 30. It offers a monetary reward to young innovators who have developed solutions that contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and positively impact our lives. Smith was named one of two first-prize winners alongside the duo Victor Dewulf and Peter Hedley, UK-based recycling entrepreneurs. The duo and Smith will receive a cash prize of EUR 20,000 (roughly $21,000 U.S. Dollars).

Examining expressions

Smith has developed an app that uses facial recognition technology to analyse someone’s facial expressions and detect early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or other neurological disorders. Changes in facial expressions can occur up to a decade before the loss of motor function through which the disease is traditionally diagnosed. Smith’s app can predict Parkinson’s with around 95% accuracy and other misidentified neural disorders with an accuracy of 93%, which opens up the possibility of early intervention.

I remember the first moment where the first algorithm actually worked and that that was magical to see,” says Smith. “It’s incredibly exciting to see this idea I had back in high school in my kitchen, turn into a tangible technology that has the potential to create a positive impact in the world and improve the care of Parkinson’s disease.”

Cision

Cision

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SOURCE European Patent Office



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