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AI can enhance smartphone microscopes into lab-grade devices

Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles 

Scientists have discovered that deep learning, a powerful form of artificial intelligence, can discern and enhance microscopic details in photos taken by to such an extent that they can match the quality of images from laboratory-grade microscopes.

The advance could help bring high-quality medical diagnostics into resource-poor regions, where people otherwise do not have access to high-end diagnostic technologies, said the researchers from the University of California, (UCLA) in the US.

The technique used attachments that can be inexpensively produced with a 3D printer, according to a study published in the journal Photonics.

"Using deep learning, we set out to bridge the gap in image quality between inexpensive mobile phone-based microscopes and gold-standard bench-top microscopes that use high-end lenses," said Aydogan Ozcan from UCLA.

"We believe that our approach is broadly applicable to other low-cost systems that use, for example, inexpensive lenses or cameras, and could facilitate the replacement of high-end bench-top microscopes with cost-effective, mobile alternatives," Ozcan said.

He said the new technique could find numerous applications in global health, and

The researchers shot images of lung tissue samples, blood and Pap smears, first using a standard laboratory-grade microscope, and then with a with the 3D-printed attachment.

Then they fed the pairs of corresponding images into a computer system that "learns" how to rapidly enhance the mobile phone images.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 13 2018. 18:00 IST