Can Watson mine Facebook to spot a concussion?

IBM partners to enable supercomputer to 'analyze sentiment and infer cognitive characteristics'
By Eric Wicklund
10:14 AM
IBM Watson

IBM is partnering with Triax Technologies to potentially harness its supercomputer for identifying head injuries on social networks.

The companies are working to embed Watson natural language capabilities into a smart impact sensor headband that Triax offers. 

Triax is among a number of companies working with wearable sensors to combat and treat concussions, which comprise the vast majority of the 3.8 million sports-related head injuries per year.

So far, the technology is being used in sensors that measure hits to the head, as well as decision support tools that help trainers and medical personnel test an athlete for evidence of a concussion immediately after the incident.

IBM and Triax could advance the ability to identify whether certain patients are in fact concussive and do so outside of a doctor's office or hospital, potentially spotting head injuries the athlete does not even know about yet. 

The technology might pick up on questionable or risky content used by an athlete in social media, for instance, then examine whether that athlete recently sustained a head injury.

"Watson's language service enables the wearable to factor in more diverse data sources such as social media to analyze sentiment and infer cognitive and social characteristics to provide a more holistic view of athletes," IBM explained in a prepared statement.