04:46pm Tuesday 12 November 2019

New technology can detect depression in adolescents

Word depression shown on tablet screen with stethoscope on left. Image © iStockphoto.

Originally from Malaysia, and with an early interest in the mechanics of signals, Dr Ooi used his electronic engineering background to create a facial and speech recognition system that can detect whether or not an adolescent has depression.

Working with Melbourne’s Orygen Youth-Health Research Centre, his work harnesses engineering technology to help with psychological diagnosis.

“Coming from an electronic engineering background, signal processing has always been one of my key strengths,” he said.

“The potential implications for signals and signal processing are endless.

“My research will hopefully spur a plethora of studies related to early detection of depression symptoms among adolescents.”

Given the social and monetary costs of depression to Australia and other countries, Dr Ooi said being able to detect and treat it early was important.

“I hope that with further development, my findings can be introduced into other technologies – such as automated systems in clinics and mobile phone apps – which will create a convenient and cost-effective way of diagnosing depression,” he said.

“I also hope my research will convince other researchers of the benefits of signal processing and how it can be used to study and predict other forms of psychological or medical conditions.”

Dr Ooi hopes to put his skills to use as a professional technology developer and explore the use of signal processing in other areas, including app development.

For interviews: Dr Brian Ooi 0433 411 188.

For media enquiries: Elisabeth Tarica (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 501 735.

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