Student Mara Coman participates in paper presentation at EUSIPCO

Fontys Information and Communication Technology

Internship at Philips Research

ICT & Software Engineering student Mara Coman followed an internship at Philips Research in Eindhoven during the third year of her studies. Her project was to develop a 'deep learning' algorithm that can distinguish cough-sounds from environmental sounds. During the European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO) from 18 to 22 January 2021 the resulting research paper, titled 'Performance Requirements for Cough Classifiers in Real-World Applications', was presented and accepted for publication. Mara took part in the Q&A segment of the presentation.

Fontys School of ICT students work side-by-side with partners and researchers during their studies. Mara Coman is very grateful for the opportunity she had to work and learn as an intern at Philips Research: "I had the opportunity to work with a team of passionate and ambitious researchers. On behalf of Fontys, I could contribute to this success. I didn't have the technical skills directly related to the project at Philips, but this has never been an obstacle. I am glad that Fontys supported this assignment, and sponsored my participation in the EUSIPCO conference, where I was responsible for the Q&A session of our paper." 




Algorithm for a cough sound classifier

The purpose of the research Mara performed was finding a better methodology for monitoring respiratory conditions. The paper describes the feasibility of a tool that can distinguish cough sounds from environmental sounds. The algorithm was applied to an audio database of cough sounds for this purpose. Mara Coman: "The algorithm's performance was considered outstanding given the rigour in implementation and testing. This work concludes that, for real-world applications, a personalized cough classifier tool is preferred over a general one. Philips mentors and I documented the work in a research paper that got accepted to be presented at EUSIPCO, and eventually published on IEEE Xplore. "

Growing during your internship

It's not just the paper that makes the internship a success. Mara has learned a lot during her time at Philips Research: "University is where I started to gain more confidence in my skills, and where I was provided with help and guidance when I needed. I was taught how to become my own teacher, how not to see mistakes as failures, and have the courage to express my opinion freely. I wanted to challenge myself at Philips, and I think that taking risks is part of the learning process. To aspiring students, I would say: do not be afraid of failure, even though the process is difficult. Even if you fail, you still learnt something. But what if you win? What if it is successful in the end? You cannot know unless you try it out." 

Read the paper abstract or full text.