School of Informatics

Speech analysis for dementia

Dr Maria Wolters is helping to develop technology which will improve early detection of dementia.

Dr Maria Wolters

Dr Wolters (pictured) leads an interdisciplinary team of University of Edinburgh researchers who have been awarded €140,000 for their part in a European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Digital Project called ELEMENT. The project aims to leverage speech analysis for the early detection of signs of dementia.

Researchers from Edinburgh, Germany and France are working with WinterLight Europe, using speech analysis technology developed by WinterLight Labs in Canada that can detect signs of cognitive impairment from a sample of speech. They will adapt the technology for different dialects of English and other European languages, starting with French.

The research is led by the German Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and includes colleagues from the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) and European Technology Park Sophia Antipolis.

The other members of the University of Edinburgh team are Dr Sarah MacPherson (Psychology), Dr Tom Russ (Psychiatry), and Dr Lucy McCloughan (Usher Institute).

Dr Wolters says:

“The longer people live, the more likely they are to develop a cognitive impairment. If the problem is detected early enough, people with cognitive impairment and their families and friends have more time to adjust and prepare for the challenges ahead.”

Dr Wolters is a Reader in Design Informatics with an interest in eHealth, and a Member of our Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation.

Useful links

Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation

European Institute of Innovation and Technology



Sophia Antipolis

WinterLight Labs