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Kyocera, University of Tsukuba to Collaborate on Artificial Intelligence System for Skin Diseases

Photonics.com
Sep 2017
TOKYO, Sept. 19, 2017 — Electronic device and semiconductor systems developer Kyocera Corp. has announced that its subsidiary, Kyocera Communication Systems Co. Ltd. (KCCS), has started joint research with the University of Tsukuba to develop an artificial intelligence system capable of detecting melanoma and other skin diseases by analyzing digital images of a patient’s skin.

Diagnosing skin diseases from digital images using artificial intelligence will offer great advantages over conventional practices, which now often depend on the knowledge and experience of a physician. In Japan, the number of skin cancer patients has approximately doubled from 1999 to 2014. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has identified artificial intelligence as a key technology in the healthcare and medical sector. Because skin cancer treatment outcomes are substantially improved by early diagnosis, better diagnostic technologies are in great demand.

KCCS is now working with professors Manabu Fujimoto and Yasuhiro Fujisawa at the University of Tsukuba to develop an image-recognition system accurate enough to distinguish several types of skin malignancies, including melanoma. The next phase of their project will aim for image-based diagnostic support of any skin disease. In addition to helping dermatology specialists, artificial intelligence-based image recognition could allow accurate diagnoses in rural and remote areas lacking a local clinician, using pictures from smartphones or digital cameras to greatly improve health care outcomes.

The project benefits from a database of more than 20,000 clinical images accumulated over 20 years by the University of Tsukuba Hospital’s dermatology department. The University’s experiences and knowledge including these images will be instrumental in assessing image-based diagnostic accuracy in real-world conditions. Additionally, KCCS will bring unique artificial intelligence-based image processing expertise accumulated through Labellio, a cloud-based web service. The service allows any user to create a simple “drag-and-drop” image classifier powered by deep learning.

The team aims to commercialize the technology by 2020. Kyocera is a supplier of electronic devices, semiconductor packages, printers, copiers, mobile phones, solar power generating systems, cutting tools and industrial components.

GLOSSARY
artificial intelligence
The ability of a machine to perform certain complex functions normally associated with human intelligence, such as judgment, pattern recognition, understanding, learning, planning and problem solving.
BusinessUniversity of Tsukubapartnershipsartificial intelligencesensinginspectionAsia-PacificSensors & Detectors

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