Working out what a baby wants is a frustrating experience for any parent, but now there are claims artificial intelligence has decoded the meaning behind an infant’s cry.

Researchers from the US have come up with a language recognition algorithm that can distinguish between normal baby cries and abnormal ones that might be a sign of illness.

“Like a special language, there is a lot of health-related information in various cry sounds. The differences between sound signals actually carry the information. These differences are represented by different features of the cry signals. To recognise and leverage the information, we have to extract the features and then obtain the information in it,” said Lichuan Liu, associate professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Digital Signal Processing Laboratory, whose group conducted the research in a statement.

The researchers designed a cry language recognition algorithm that classifies various cry features, so as to work out why a baby is crying.

“The ultimate goals are healthier babies and less pressure on parents and care givers,” said Liu. “We are looking into collaborations with hospitals and medical research centres, to obtain more data and requirement scenario input, and hopefully we could have some products for clinical practice.” 

The Saturday Star