A Czech start-up called Promethyst AI is developing a programme that would help people train their memory and improve their cognitive skills. The application, provisionally called Jarmila, is currently being tested on a group of patients suffering from various cognitive impairments. I spoke to Ondřej Hrách, one of the members of the development team, to find out more details about the ambitious project:
“We decided to focus on mental healthcare, because we really wanted our technology to help people with mental problems, which can be problems with memory, it can be any other cognitive problems or even psychological problems.
“We think that this area is not yet covered and it might be very useful for many people who suffer from problems of this type but also for people who want to train their memory or cognitive skills.”
How exactly is it going to work?
“What we are trying to do here is to create a system that would help people train their cognitive skills via conversation, which means via normal human-like dialogues.
It is like training memory with games or some specific exercises, and also it could be possible to analyse people’s cognitive skills.
“Therefore we could also create some statistics for doctors, who would then have some statistical information about the patient and based on this they could also change or adapt the treatment.”
Do people need to own some special device in order to be able to use your programme?
“That’s still a question to be solved in the future. For now, we have our own little box which people need for them to test our system, but in the future it’s very probable that our system could be in existing devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa and that is really still an open question.”
How far are you with the development?
“The development of this system only began a few months ago, so we are really at the beginning. We already have a prototype that we are testing with certain patients who already have some memory problems or some cognitive problems.
“So far we have been developing this system in Czech and in English and we hope that in the future these systems could help as many people as possible.”
“Our company has around twenty people and the system that our company is developing is based on the work of a student team of the Czech Technical University in Prague.
"We also have linguists, psychologists and software engineers to make this development as interdisciplinary as possible.”
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