Graduate of first-cycle studies presents one of the best degree dissertations in the field of mechanics

Maurycy Chronowski, BSc, a graduate of first-cycle studies at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, took third place in the 20th national competition organised by the Association of Polish Mechanical Engineers and Technicians for the best degree dissertation in the field of mechanics (in the academic year 2019/2020).

The honoured dissertation, supervised by professor Maciej Kłaczyński, is entitled “Zastosowanie urządzeń mobilnych do wibroakustycznej diagnostyki choroby Parkinsona” (English: Application of mobile devices to vibroacoustic diagnosis of Parkinson's disease).

The main research-related objective of the project was to determine if speech recordings made with the use an average smartphone will be enough to create a system that would support the diagnosis of people with Parkinson’s disease. The recordings contained phonetic tests read out by patients, which a method used in otolaryngological diagnosis. Apart from speech, acceleration patterns from the built-in accelerometer were also processed – Parkinson’s disease manifests itself in, for example, muscle tremor, which the device should be able to register. A pilot test showed that it would be potentially possible to develop software that would support neurologists through an automatic assessment of the patient's health condition. A direct follow-up to the degree dissertation was a publication in the journal “Diagnostyka”.

The subject of the dissertation sprang from classes conducted by professor Maciej Kłaczyński within the framework of the course “acoustic methods in biology and medicine”. Students analysed speech recordings of people with various larynx disorders – inflammatory conditions, polyps, cancers.

“It was then when I really liked the idea of using acoustic data for medical diagnosis – I’d had similar interests before, I even considered studying medicine. Some time later, in scientific literature I came across study results that used the speech signal for the purpose of recognising Parkinson’s disease, and I decided that it was an interesting area for research. I also got interested in telehealth and methods used in the automatic diagnosis of diseases. A result of it was an idea to check whether we can make a speech diagnosis with the use of an average smartphone. An additional motivation for me was the fact that my grandmother had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for many years, so this problem has affected me personally,” says the author of the honoured dissertation.

Maurycy Chronowski is finishing his second-cycle studies in Computer Science (specialisation: systems modelling and intelligent data analysis) at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering. He continues the subject of the bachelor’s degree dissertation in his master thesis. Currently, he is focusing on developing an efficient model of patient classification according to the advancement of the disease. It is based on speech recordings and tremor patterns collected in the last two years. A result of his work should be a thorough analysis of the possibilities and limitations of such a model, which in the future may constitute the basis for building a remote system of monitoring the development of the disease.

“I would like to live in a world in which effective medical diagnosis is available to everyone and it is free of charge. It is an idealistic approach, but through my research I am trying to make my contribution to this ideal,” says the student. He is interested in contemporary medicine, artificial intelligence, and its application in everyday life. He works for a biotechnological company, where he deals with computer-aided processing of medical images (for example, histopathological images and fluorescence imaging).