Campus and Community

Técnico students win H-INNOVA Health Innovation Award

The artificial intelligence software was developed by students Nassir Cassamo, Filipa Pinto and Miguel Folque, and supervised by professor Susana Vieira.

he “AI4Health” project developed by finalist students Nassir Cassamo, Filipa Pinto and Miguel Folque (MSc Mechanical Engineering at Técnico), won the H-INNOVA Health Innovation Award. The project was supervised by professor Susana Vieira (Department of Mechanical Engineering – DEM/IST), and focuses on artificial intelligence software capable of predicting the occurrence of a heart attack in hospitalized patients, up to 5 minutes before it occurs.

“It is most gratifying to see a project, which involved so many hours of work, to be recognized internationally by different entities, among so many other high quality projects”, says Nassir Cassamo. “Our team is very pleased to see the growing interest of healthcare institutions in this type of technology”, he adds.

The students were challenged by professor Susana Vieira to develop “AI4Health” in Intelligent Systems curricular unit. “We developed two types of machine learning models, using fuzzy reasoning and Artificial Neural Networks (ANN). The models are built with data from electrocardiograms (ECG’s) of healthy and unhealthy patients from a database developed by MIT Lab for computational physiology “, explains Filipa Pinto. “Up to that point we have developed only machine learning models”, she recalls.

Aware of the potential of their work, the team decided to compete at the end of the first semester. To this end, the students developed “a business plan that allowed to turn the project idea into a business opportunity, and the name AI4Health came up”, says Filipa Pinto.

By detecting small variations in ECG data when compared with a standard healthy ECG wave, AI4Health’s intelligent algorithms look for patterns that are difficult to detect using human eye, and can function as ‘predictors’ for incident heart failure. “This software will notify healthcare providers of these changes up to 5 minutes before the heart attack occurs, which will allow to act in advance and save as many lives as possible”, highlights Filipa Pinto.

“Projects of this type have great potential because they combine knowledge from distinct fields – Medicine and Engineering – and may save many lives in the near future”, says Miguel Folque. “The work we have developed aims to demonstrate the applicability and feasibility of this type of algorithms in the healthcare sector. If we have more available data and broaden collaborations, we will be able to develop better algorithms”, highlights the Técnico student.

The H-INNOVA Health Innovation Award was created by Regional Government of Madeira, in partnership with PremiValor Consulting and other leading companies, and in collaboration with national and international universities. The award aims “to recognise and reward the best project developed by university students and professors, in the field of Health innovation”.

The H-INNOVA – Health INNOVAtion HUB aims to create and to develop an accelerator for fostering innovation in Health involving Hospitals, Universities, Research Centers and reference companies/organizations in an integrated ecosystem.

The Award, which amounts to €5,000, was delivered on 22nd September, during a virtual ceremony.