Pastry scanning Artificial Intelligence Machine can Detect Cancer


Scanning a tissue sample for cancer cells is a painstakingly time consuming process. A pathologist has to look over the sample slide in a microscope, checking each cell to see if there is an abnormality. However, a surprising Japanese artificial intelligence (AI) machine called BakeryScan that identifies bakery items has come to the rescue.

According to an article reported in The New Yorker, a doctor once walked into a Tokyo bakery in 2019. There, he saw a multitude of pastry items he could choose from and got excited. But it was the checkout process that impressed him the most. The bakery used a $20,000 AI deep learning machine called BakeryScan which identified all the items the doctor wanted through a camera, ran them against its programmed catalog, and calculated his bill. The cashier’s only job was to confirm if the machine had got the order right.

A video of how BakeryScan operates

Since then, the machine has been redesigned by its manufacturer (Brain Co.) to help identify and distinguish between cancer cells. The new system, called Cyto-AiscAN, identifies cells and measures their nuclei to see if they are abnormal. Two hospitals in Kobe and Kyoto trained the artificial intelligence system to identify these cells. Now it is able to scan and diagnose entire slides altogether with a ninety nine percent accuracy.

The scientists predict that the machine’s accuracy may help doctors diagnose cancers during their early stages. Its accuracy in distinguishing malignant from benign cells and its quick diagnosing time may help save many patients’ lives.

The author of The New Yorker, James Somers, interviewed BakeryScan’s system engineer Hishashi Kambe. “’I asked Kambe how it worked—did it use deep learning? ‘Original way,’ he said. Then, with a huge smile, ‘Same as bread’.”

Artificial Intelligence is the future of Medtech

The Cyto-AiscAN is one of the many artificially intelligent systems that have been programmed to make medical procedures easier for doctors. From helping diagnose diseases, training medical staff according to new guidelines, or letting monkeys play computer games with their brains, artificial intelligence is a permanent tool in medical technology. One that is likely to open endless possibilities for medicine in the future.


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