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Google introduces AI-powered tool to detect skin diseases. Here’s how it works

At the ongoing Google I/O 2021, the tech giant has revealed various new projects which have made use of artificial intelligence. Once such use case was detecting skin diseases using smartphone cameras.

The company shared a preview of an AI-powered dermatology assist tool that helps the user understand what’s going on with issues related to the body’s largest organ: skin, hair and nails. The tool is a web-based application that the company hopes to launch as a pilot later this year.

Google claims to be using many of the same techniques that detect diabetic eye disease or lung cancer in CT scans. The new tool can identify dermatologic issues — like a rash on the arm— using your phone’s camera.

How the AI-powered dermatology tool works

The search giant claims that each year they get almost ten billion Google Searches related to skin, nail and hair issues.

Once the user launches the tool, they will have to use their phone’s camera to take three images of the skin, hair or nail concern from different angles. They’ll then be asked questions about their skin type, how long they have had the issue and other symptoms that help the tool narrow down the possibilities.

The AI model analyzes this information and draws from its knowledge of 288 conditions to provide a list of possible matching conditions that the user can then research further.

For each matching condition, the tool will show dermatologist-reviewed information and answers to commonly asked questions, along with similar matching images from the web.

Google claims that the tool is not intended to provide a diagnosis nor be a substitute for medical advice as many conditions require clinician review, in-person examination, or additional testing like a biopsy.

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