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Spectral-Temporal Saliency Masks and Modulation Tensorgrams for Generalizable COVID-19 Detection
  • Tiago H. Falk
Tiago H. Falk
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Speech COVID-19 detection systems have gained popularity as they represent an easy-to-use and low-cost solution that is well suited for at-home long-term monitoring of patients with persistent symptoms. Recently, however, the limited generalization capability of existing deep neural network based systems to unseen datasets has been raised as a serious concern, as has their limited interpretability. In this paper, we propose two innovations to help overcome these issues. First, we propose the use of a 3-dimensional modulation frequency tensor (called modulation tensorgram representation, MTR) as input to a convolutional recurrent neural network for COVID-19 detection. The representation is known to provide robustness against different environmental factors seen across datasets. Next, we propose the use of spectro-temporal saliency masking to aggregate regions of the MTR related to COVID-19, thus helping further improve the generalizability and interpretability of the model. Experiments are conducted on three public datasets and results show the proposed solution consistently outperforming two benchmark systems in within-, across-, and unseen-dataset tests. The proposed method relies on a similar number of parameters to the benchmark, thus a promising solution for at-home monitoring of COVID-19 infection.