FacePrint

A telemedicine diagnostic and monitoring tool for Parkinson's disease

Photo of Erin Smith

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Date Started

2016

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

While watching a video created by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, I observed that Parkinson’s patients’ facial expressions frequently appeared emotionally distant. As I talked to caretakers and clinicians, they reported similar observations in their loved ones years before diagnosis. I was fascinated. I wondered if facial expressions could monitor changes in the brain like Parkinson’s and objectively detect its onset. As I began working one-on-one with patients and ultimately launched a national study, I was inspired by the patients’ stories and resilience. Developing FacePrint became my way to say thank you to the patients who have given me so much in terms of their friendship and wisdom. It has become my way to turn my scribbled notes and ideas into tangible technology and hope.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

There are no definitive means of diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease. Current methods rely on in-clinic medical examination and the presence of symptoms that do not occur until late stages of the disease. Further, existing diagnostic methods are often subjective, and lack of quantified biomarkers and tools hinders the process. With over 10 million cases, lack of early, objective diagnostic tools will pose an increasing societal and economic threat.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

FacePrint is a tool to diagnose and monitor Parkinson’s disease using video technology to objectively capture early stage facial muscle indicators. Requiring only a computer and webcam, FacePrint offers an inexpensive, remote tool to detect early stage Parkinson’s disease within milliseconds. Compatible with facial recognition used by Snapchat and Facebook, FacePrint is the selfie that could save your life.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

FacePrint provides a screening and diagnostic support tool for healthcare providers. FacePrint is composed of two main tests:the Spontaneous and the Posed Facial Expression Tests. Based on the collected facial footage, FacePrint equips clinicians with a robust system to detect disease onset by objectively capturing facial impairments and identified behavioral biomarkers associated with early stages of Parkinson’s. Further, FacePrint creates a telemedicine system for patient’s to monitor daily symptoms from the comfort of their own homes. The data can be shared with the clinician, creating a continual feedback loop and a more comprehensive understanding of fluctuations in symptoms in-between appointments. The identified facial indicators also provide external manifestation of early neurological changes and can be used to test and develop better targeted treatments and early intervention.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

FacePrint is 98% cheaper than current methods, and the patent-pending system is specifically designed to be accessible, adaptable, and scalable. Further, FacePrint currently has an accuracy of 88%, compared to the current gold-standard of 81.6%. FacePrint takes the previously subjective masked face observation that commonly occurs 5-10 years before the onset of traditional motor symptoms and subsequent diagnosis and turns it into an objectively indicator of Parkinson’s disease.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

My research thus far has consisted of 265 patients composed of Parkinson’s and non-Parkinson’s patients. Each numbers represents a different story. After I collected data, the patients would sit me down and tell me about their lives, which ranged from telling me funny stories about their spouses to trying to persuade me to marry their sons to recounting the daily challenges of living with Parkinson’s disease. Everything about my research changed in those moments. The patient’s eye-opening stories became my motivation. I was shocked by how long it had taken patients to receive their diagnosis and how subjective the process was. I heard countless stories from patients who were not ready for the depression, anxiety, insomnia, and memory loss that were also part of their Parkinson’s experience. My work became to create hope by developing technology to improve life with Parkinson's disease.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I am currently expanding FacePrint to include diseases commonly misdiagnosed for Parkinson’s, specifically Essential Tremor and atypical parkinsonism disorders. I am also launching longitudinal studies which will enable me to pinpoint the exact point before diagnosis that the algorithms are able to detect disease state. Further, I am an incoming freshman at Stanford University where I will continue my research and integrate brain imaging into FacePrint’s process to map disease specific facial changes. In late 2018, I will be launching the mobile app version of FacePrint. I will also be launching the Human Face Project to expand FacePrint to other neurological and psychological diseases, specifically PTSD and postpartum depression.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

I need advice and expertise as I develop and launch the mobile app version of FacePrint. I also need machine learning and algorithm development advice as I work on refining FacePrint’s current diagnostic and monitoring models using the new data that I collected that will be available in early June. Further, funding and access to a wider range of research participants will be a critical next step as I launch the Human Face Project to expand FacePrint to other neurological and psychological disorders, mapping facial impairments associated with the entire spectrum of human health and wellness. I also want to expand my efforts to raise awareness and hope among the Parkinson’s disease community.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

I am always seeking to expand the team behind FacePrint. Creating a strong board of teammates and advisors is critical to the long term success and sustainability behind this project. Currently, I have worked with Parkinson’s patients, movement disorder specialists, software engineers, etc. in order to turn this idea into a tangible reality. In the future, I am excited to learn new ways to work with fellow changemakers and other young people in order to scale up FacePrint’s potential impact.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

Evaluation results

5 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 80%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 20%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 60%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 40%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 60%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 20%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 60%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 20%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

16 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of clinton mash
Team

in the summer of 2012. Her initial symptoms were quite noticeable. She first experienced weakness in her right arm and her speech and swallowing abilities were profoundly affected. She did so much to seek help for this disease, as she had been her brother's caregiver a few years earlier for the same disease. Early this year she started on organic/natural PD treatment from Best Health Herbal Centre (ww w. besthealthherbalcentre. co m). The treatment worked very effectively and all her symptoms simply disappeared completely after 7 weeks of usage.

Photo of Catherine Torres
Team

I am 56 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after four years of decreasing mobility to the point of having family dress me. One of my first symptoms was the lost of my sense of smell. Experiencing the beautiful aroma of a rose was no longer something to look forward to. I also had some difficulty writing. I was on one tablet of pramipexole (Sifrol), 0.25 mg three times a day. Since the original diagnosis, my stiffness slowly increased. I'm 56, In Febuary this year my neurologist referred me to Organic Herbal Clinic, i immediately started on their natural organic Parkinson's Herbal treatment. I had a total decline in all symptoms including the Stiffness, Visit Organic Herbal Clinic web page ww w. organicherbalclinic. c om. The PD treatment totally reversed my condition and most amazingly i can go about my daily activities!

Photo of Russell Agustin
Team

Amazing cause, good luck on the next phase!!!

Photo of Laurel Baruss
Team

I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 51. I had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, sleeplessness, and slow movement. I was placed on Sinemet for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but I had to stop due to side effects. I was in denial for a while as there is no history of PD in my family. I also used amantadine, and physical therapy to strengthen muscles all failed. I decided to adopt a more natural approach and started on Parkinson's Herbal formula from Organic Herbal Clinic, the Parkinson's natural formula immensely helped my condition, i had a total recovery from PD with this natural herbal formula treatment. Organic Herbal Clinic official web site www . organicherbalclinic . com. I feel alive again!!

Photo of Shelley Lloyd
Team

After my Parkinsons Disease diagnosis, i was on Carbidopa and Pramipexole for two years, as the disease progressed my symptoms worsened, with my neurologist guidance i started on natural PARKINSONS DISEASE TREATMENT from Rich Herbs Foundation (ww w. richherbsfoundation. c om). The treatment worked very effectively for my Parkinson’s, most of my severe symptoms simply vanished within the first 3 months on the treatment, i feel better now than I have felt in years and i can feel my strength again. My neurologist was very open when looking at alternative medicines and procedures, this alternative parkinson disease treatment is indeed a breakthrough.

Photo of Laurel Barrus
Team

I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 51. I had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, sleeplessness, and slow movement. I was placed on Sinemet for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but I had to stop due to side effects. I was in denial for a while as there is no history of PD in my family. I also used amantadine, and physical therapy to strengthen muscles all failed. I decided to adopt a more natural approach and started on Parkinson's Herbal formula from Organic Herbal Clinic, the Parkinson's natural formula immensely helped my condition, i had a total recovery from PD with this natural herbal formula treatment. Organic Herbal Clinic official web site www . organicherbalclinic . com. I feel alive again!!

Photo of promise lily
Team

Am Promise Williams, from Jamaica. I suffered the illness called Parkinson Disease. I went to so many hospital’s and herbalist, no one was able to help me. The illness nearly took my life, until a friend of mine introduced me to a herbal centre called BEST HEALTH HERBAL CENTRE , I never knew the owner of the herbal centre was a genius until i contacted him. I purchased two bottle of PD herbal formula and used as instructed for six weeks. My symptoms totally declined and PD reversed completely after the six weeks usage. I just turned sixty years last week, and am doing very well. Please visit their website
ww w. besthealthherbalcentre .c om for help.

Thanks
Promise williams.

Photo of Jonah Woods
Team

Hey guys! this really helped me so i decided to let you all know about this because it's gonna help you too regardless of your diseases or virus you are sick of. I was cure of Parkinson's disease of 4 years by a herbal medicine from MADIDA HERBAL CENTER, their herbal medicine is really good with zero side effect and it works awesomely. according to them on their websit: www.madidaherbalcenter.weebly.com they have cures to different diseases and virus like HIV, HERPES, CANCER, LUPUS, ASTHMA, HEPATITES and many more. Email them now @ madidaherbalcenter@gmail.com to place your order to get well and with collect effort & crucial information like this we can win the battle of ill health.

Photo of Tyler Vogel
Team

What an amazing venture you have started Erin! Excited to see how FacePrint grows with the resources you find at Stanford! I'd like to share a resource with you that you may find helpful. I had the chance to interact with Dr. Francisco Lopera who presented on Familial Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease in Colombia: An Opportunity for Prevention. His work at the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia is a fantastic resource for innovative prevention work. Keep up the great work! ~Tyler

Photo of Erin Smith
Team

Hi Tyler! Thank you so much for reaching out. Dr. Francisco Loper's work looks fascinating, and I am excited to read more about it.

Best wishes,

Erin

Photo of Ariyan Miller
Team

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

Photo of Erin Smith
Team

Hi Ariyan!! It is so nice to meet you :) Thank you so much for reaching out, and this message just made my day! I am sending lots of love and light to all the positive things that you do as well!!

Photo of Armani Simmons
Team

I am interested on learning more about your project and figure out how we can collaborate. You are doing great work and I am eager to be a fellow changemaker with you.

Photo of Erin Smith
Team

Hi Armani! Thank you so much for reaching out. I am so excited to hear more about what you do as well. Feel free to email me at erinsmith280@gmail.com with any questions!

Photo of Elizabeth Hooper
Team

This idea is amazing and you've already come so far with it! It was a little unclear to me how you know it's working. I know you've collaborated with a variety of experts on this, but could you share a little more information on how you're certain this is a reliable way to diagnose Parkinsons?

Photo of Erin Smith
Team

Hi Elizabeth! Great question. I built FacePrint using real Parkinson’s patients and control subject data that I collected during a research study. The algorithms that I built using these responses were able to accurately predict Parkinson’s disease using the facial features at an accuracy of 88%. I am currently expanding data collection and using new machine learning techniques in order to further improve the accuracy. It’s also important to note that this tool is designed to be used as a decision support tool, not as the sole means of diagnosis. This machine learning tool will enable clinicians to have a more comprehensive, objective understanding of disease onset, further improving accuracy. Hopefully this helps clarify. Let me know if you still have any more questions :)