Putting AI at the service of skin

·1-min read
Google could soon launch a web-based application to help diagnose common skin conditions.

Google plans to use artificial intelligence to help people identify certain skin conditions. In fact, an application capable of diagnosing skin complaints could be coming by the end of the year. The idea is to photograph a mole or a rash, for example, which is then analyzed to give a list of corresponding conditions and their level of severity.

It was at the Google I/O conference that the tech giant unveiled this new dermatology assist tool, powered directly by artificial intelligence by machine learning. The aim is to be able to detect any potential health issues relating to skin, hair or nails. But while the tool seeks to warn users about potential risks, it's evidently no substitute for specialist medical advice, which should always be sought if in doubt.

This tool seeks to find answers to dermatological conditions, like a suspicious mole or a sudden rash, using the smartphone camera. It should, in any case, offer greater accuracy than a simple Google search for the same symptoms.

The aim is to launch this web-based application later this year. Users will be asked to take several photos of their skin, hair or nails from different angles, and answer a series of questions, in order to get a list of suggested corresponding conditions. For each condition, the tool will show dermatologist-reviewed information and answers to commonly asked questions, along with a selection of similar matching images from the internet. Note that the application could launch in Europe rather than the US.

According to Google, the search engine sees almost 10 billion searches a year related to skin, nail and hair issues.

David Bénard