Article source: Auckland Bioengineering Institute / NZ Doctor. Image source: Unsplash, Julien Tromeur

Researchers at the Auckland Bioengineering institute (ABI) have received over $4 million in MBIE funding to investigate how ‘digital people’ could be used in healthcare, by monitoring people’s health and providing support in the management of their conditions.

ABI researchers are recipients of MBIE’s new Catalyst Strategic with Soul Machines fund, set up in in 2021 for internationally connected research projects to explore the potential of AI in healthcare.

Soul Machines is a New Zealand AI company that pioneered the creation of animated digital people that interact with humans in real time and in a lifelike manner. Recipients of the fund have access to Soul Machines’ digital people for the duration of their projects.

Professor Merryn Tawhai, deputy director of the ABI, will use the funding to lead an international consortium to explore how Soul Machines’ digital people could be used to support the management of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).