In 2016 already, Google’s DeepMind was to diagnose cancer faster with the help of artificial intelligence. Two years later, the Silicon Valley giant is using AI again to detect cancer cells, and this time in real time.
Google is developing a microscope that will not only be powered by AI but also by augmented reality – commonly called AR. The device, which is still a prototype, was presented a few days ago during a talk given at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
In a video posted on YouTube last week, Martin Stumpe, Google’s Technology Lead and Engineer, explained, “We had the idea for the microscope project about a year ago. It brings augmented reality into an existing microscope to detect cancer in real time. We are bringing AI directly to the users and meeting them where they are right now.”
Dr. Trissia Brown, Pathologist, pointed out that “every cell needs to be examined. Sometimes, cancer is very difficult to recognize.” This is where the microscope will help doctors do their jobs faster. It will enable pathologists to have access to machine learning.
But how does it work? The microscope is seeing the same thing that humans can see through the eyepiece. However, the information is directly being fed into a computer which is doing billions of calculations to tell whether or not the human tissue being examined in the slide is a tumor.
The computer was taught by a team of pathologists how to recognize breast and prostate cancers. They went through thousands of images to teach the machine what cancer cells look like. The idea is to get to the point where it can detect all cancers, and even infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, to save more lives.