Google has used machine learning to solve a lot of problems like beating humans at Go and spotting exoplanets. Those are noble endeavors, but now Google Research has turned its attention to a problem that has a real impact on individual people.

The company is working with doctors to develop a neural network that can identify cancer cells using an Augmented Reality Microscope (ARM). Many aspects of modern medical testing have been automated, but cancer diagnosis is still a time-consuming process.

After taking a biopsy of a suspected cancerous mass, a pathologist has to examine the cells under a microscope. Google has shown in the past that a neural network can accelerate diagnosis of cancer in digital images, but most pathologists are using compound light microscopes to examine slides.

The solution was the Augmented Reality Microscope. With this system, Google’s AI sees an image in the microscope in real time along with the doctor.

Then, it overlays analysis on top of that image. The first piece of the puzzle was getting a neural network trained on what is and is not cancer. Read more from…

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