Google introduces AI tool to detect skin conditions

May 19, 2021 (Last Updated May 19th, 2021 15:58)

Google’s AI-powered dermatology assist tool can aid in detecting skin, hair and nail conditions.

Google introduces AI tool to detect skin conditions
The Google AI tool received CE mark as a Class I medical device in Europe. Credit: Jan Vašek from Pixabay.

Google has launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered dermatology assist tool which can aid in detecting skin, hair and nail conditions, based on images taken with the user’s phone camera.

Similar to techniques used to identify diabetic eye disease or lung cancer in CT scans, the latest tool can detect dermatologic issues such as a rash on your arm.

The pilot launch of the app is slated to happen later this year.

The web-based application requires three images of the skin, hair or nails from separate angles using a phone camera. Subsequently, the user has to answer questions on skin type and various symptoms.

After analysing these details, the tool lists potential matches from its database of 288 conditions, enabling the user to carry out further research.

For each matching condition, the tool will provide dermatologist-reviewed information and common questions and answers, along with matching images from the web.

Google noted that the latest tool does not offer a diagnosis and is not an alternative to medical advice as several conditions need to be assessed clinically, in-person or through tests such as biopsies.

This product received CE mark as a Class I medical device in Europe. It is yet to be reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration for safety or efficacy and is not offered in the country.

The tool was developed by the company with about three years of research. It has a de-identified dataset of roughly 65,000 images of already diagnosed skin conditions, several curated skin concern pictures and examples of healthy skin from people across various demographics.

Google noted they considered factors such as age, sex, race and skin types while developing the tool.

In a study published in Nature Medicine, Google’s AI system showed precision that matched US board-certified dermatologists, the company noted.