Video Game-Powered Ocular Medical Imaging System Announced

A video game that helps players to teach artificial intelligence systems to precisely identify a range of ocular diseases displayed in medical imaging has been patented.

Balanced Media Technology, in conjunction with the Retina Foundation and Southern Methodist University, announced the technology, which uses automated software in conjunction with the skills and coordination of players to help identify a range of eye conditions, including age-related macular degeneration.

The system is built on the Hewmen artificial intelligence platform, which combines human inputs with machine learning and is used by SMU and the Retina Foundation to help analyse optical coherence tomography (OCT) images, and together create a more accurate and precise analysis.

To help both the researchers and the Hewman AI, Balanced created a game called Eye in the Sky: Defender, which puts the player in control of an orbiting weapons platform and asks them to predict the path two alien convoys will take.

What the game is actually doing is using the skill and ability of players to help identify the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and Bruch’s membrane (BM) from a series of retinal scans, as well as subretinal drusenoid deposits, a telltale sign of age-related macular degeneration.

Players were noticed to increase in skill exceptionally quickly and within 20 minutes of gameplay (roughly seven levels of the game), they are identifying the boundary within a few pixels.

This not only makes them a vitally useful asset in analysing OCT images, but also help to train the Hewman AI to learn and detect patterns in the data it would not have been able to otherwise, and Balanced have noted this type of interactive research could have other uses as well.

The effect of this improved analysis translates to much quicker detection of age-related macular degeneration and other optical conditions, which in the case of AMD means the potential to slow the loss of sight.

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