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Google announces tool to identify skin problems

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This week, at the I / O conference, Google unveiled a new artificial intelligence capable of helping Internet users identify skin problems. The company hopes to launch a pilot project later this year.

Google unveils its new AI

Google I / O is an annual spring conference hosted by Google at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. For this year, pandemic obliges, Sundar Pichai and his teams presented the big news directly online. Among the many announcements discussed was a web-based tool that leverages artificial intelligence to help people identify diseases of the skin, hair or nails.

The principle is as follows: just use the camera of your smartphone to take three photos of the problem area (for example, a rash on the forearm). A series of questions will then be asked about their skin type concerned or to target other possible symptoms.

Formed on a set of 288 diseases, the tool will then propose a possible diagnosis. The model naturally takes factors such as age, skin type, gender, and race into account when suggesting possible illnesses.

Tested on nearly a thousand images of skin problems from a wide range of patients, Google claims to have identified the correct skin disease in one of three suggested suggestions. 84% of the time. The team will soon also work with researchers at Stanford University to test the effectiveness of the tool in a healthcare setting.

Credit: Kjerstin_Michaela / pixabay

An application that will not replace the doctor

Google decided to fight against skin conditions because of the prevalence of requests inherent to these problems on the famous search engine.

We receive approximately ten billion requests per year on the condition of the skin, nails or horses.“, Explains to The edge Karen DeSalvo, Health Manager at Google Health. “Two billion people around the world suffer from skin problems, but there is a global shortage of specialists. Although the first step for many people is to go to a Google search bar, it can be difficult to describe what you see on your skin just in words ”.

Of course, this next application will not be intended to replace the dermatologist. Also the advice of a doctor will always be essential to establish a true diagnosis. “Rather, we hope this will give you access to authoritative information so that you can make a more informed decision on your next step ”, Karen DeSalvo notes.

The company has obtained a medical device brand from class I for the tool in the European Union, designating it as a low risk medical device. As of yet, it has not yet been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.


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