Published: 8 October 2018 at 13:00
Anglia Ruskin leads project that uses artificial intelligence to deliver diagnosisScientists are using the power of mobile phone technology to provide an accurate, real-time test for tuberculosis – an infectious lung disease responsible for the death of over a million people every year.
“This new system has been developed with colleagues in Malaysia which, in common with many areas of south east Asia, has a high rate of tuberculosis and extensive, remote rural areas with few medical facilities for testing.
“This system wouldn’t be used instead of seeing a physician but would be a first port of call. If the app detects tuberculosis it would instruct the user to contact a medical professional. One major advantage of our app system is that it doesn’t require internet access or any additional hardware to be added to a smartphone.
“By using the phone’s camera to capture the sample, rather than manually using colour charts, it eliminates human error and avoids any subjectivity around interpretation. It also means that positive and negative samples do not need to be distinguishable to the human eye or depend on perfect colour vision.
“Our system is a portable, cheap and accurate automatic TB diagnosis tool which can benefit millions of people, especially in remote locations where few health experts are available. The technique we have developed for this test, using a mobile phone camera, can be applied to other colourimetric qualitative tests, so it has a number of other possible uses.”