Google developing AI microscope that detects cancer cells in real-time

Kyle Chua
The device is essentially an ordinary light microscope, commonly used by pathologists, tweaked with artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technology

VISUALIZED DETECTION. A screenshot from a Google video demonstrates the AI- and AR-assisted microscope being developed by the search giant. Screenshot from YouTube/Google

MANILA, Philippines – A team of Google researchers in a talk given at the American Association for Cancer Research presented a prototype of an artifical intelligence(AI)- and augmented reality(AR)-assisted microscope that can be used to help speed up the process of cancer diagnosis.

The device is essentially an ordinary light microscope, commonly used by pathologists around the world, tweaked with artificial intelligence and augmented reality technology. When a slide containing human tissue is placed on the device, what is seen by the person viewing through the eyepiece is fed to a computer.

The image analysis and machine learning algorithms then detect the cancerous cells and highlight them in the eyepieces through AR. What’s great is that this is all done in real-time.

Google said the prototype is trained to detect breast and prostate cancer but can be programmed to run other machine learning algorithms to solve other problems. Visual feedback can also be updated with “text, arrows, contours, heatmaps, or animations.”

Existing light microscopes already found in hospitals and clinics can be upgraded with low-cost components making it easy for Google to roll this innovation out to the public.

“[The augmented reality microscope] has potential for a large impact on global health, particularly for the diagnosis of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria, in developing countries,” Google said.

The company previously developed a neural network that could detect breast cancer as accurately as a trained pathologist. – Rappler.com