Google developing AI smartphone healthcare tools

Google Health introduced new research projects that would use artificial intelligence to turn smartphones into stethoscopes and other at-home AI disease screening tools, according to a March 24 blog post.

One of the new programs will develop AI that can spot signs of illness, diabetes-related or otherwise, by looking only at external photos of the eye captured with a patient's smartphone camera, allowing them to be diagnosed from home.

The other smartphone-based AI project wil analyze how the built-in microphones on a mobile device could be used to analyze heart and lung sounds when the device is placed over the chest, turning a smartphone into a stethoscope. 

The last offering announced by the tech giant is a partnership with Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine. The two will open a research project with aims to develop AI technology that can read prenatal ultrasounds. 

The technology will target low and middle-income countries with a shortage of healthcare professionals trained to read imaging data.

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