Google has recently unveiled a dermatology tool powered by artificial intelligence that will help users understand issues with their skin, hair, and nails.
The tool uses many of the same techniques that detect diabetic eye disease or lung cancer in CT scans to help consumers identify dermatologic issues using their phone’s camera.
“Each year we see almost ten billion Google Searches related to skin, nail and hair issues. Two billion people worldwide suffer from dermatologic issues, but there’s a global shortage of specialists,” Peggy Bui, MD, product manager at Google Health, and Yuan Liu, PhD, technical lead at Google Health, wrote in a blog post.
“While many people’s first step involves going to a Google Search bar, it can be difficult to describe what you’re seeing on your skin through words alone. Our AI-powered dermatology assist tool is a web-based application that we hope to launch as a pilot later this year, to make it easier to figure out what might be going on with your skin.”
Google debuted the web-based application at its annual I/O developer conference on May 18. Once users launch the tool, they can use their phone’s camera to take three pictures of their hair, skin, or nail concern from different angles. The app then asks questions about the user’s skin type, how long they’ve had the issue, and other symptoms that will help the tool determine the possible cause.
The AI algorithm analyzes this information and draws from its knowledge of 288 conditions to give users a list of possible conditions that they 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,” Bui and Liu said.
“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. Rather we hope it gives you access to authoritative information so you can make a more informed decision about your next step.”