IBM Watson is analysing Sydney skin for early melanoma detection

IBM held an event called Outthink Melanoma this weekend at Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club in Sydney. IBM offered members of the public free skin assessments and skin checks...

IBM held an event called Outthink Melanoma this weekend at Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club in Sydney. IBM offered members of the public free skin assessments and skin checks while accumulating important data to advance crucial Melanoma research.

IBM last year signed two agreements with MoleMap and Melanoma Institute Australia to undertake research to advance the identification of melanoma using sophisticated technology (IBM Watson). This leverages massive compute power to analyse images of patient’s skin and biometric data, similar to how a human would. The difference being that this analysis can be achieved much more quickly and accurately.

This research is hoped to increase the accuracy of melanoma detection before they reach their critical stages. If successful, this has massive potential and could save hundreds of lives every year, while also reducing healthcare expenditure.

Attendees this weekend included:

  • Joanna Batstone, Vice President and Lab Director, IBM Research – Australia
  • Terry Sweeney, IBM Watson Health Leader of Asia Pacific, Greater China Group and Japan
  • Carole Renouf, CEO Melanoma Institute of Australia

Beach-goers, surfers, life savers and even Sunday nippers joined IBM’s #outthinkmelanoma at the Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club this weekend for free skin checks and assessments. Hundreds of people talked with IBM Watson through a smart mirror extracting key information like their age range, gender, if they’re wearing sunscreen.

This data was then combined with weather information to determine the person’s risk of sunburn with the UV rating at the time of day. The de-identified data gathered from the assessments and checks will contribute to IBM research being done with Melanoma Institute Australia and Molemap to teach Watson to detect melanoma.

This research may one day help doctors more easily detect far more melanomas before they reach critical stages – and potentially save hundreds of lives and healthcare spend every year.

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