Can a smartphone's camera detect melanoma?

By Brian Dolan
06:10 am
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skinscanmapA new iPhone medical app, Skin Scan, claims to detect melanoma on your skin using only the iPhone's camera. The app also includes geolocation features which map trends in skin cancer rates across the globe. The startup has secured €50,000 Euro in seed funding from Seedmoney, according to a report over at TechCrunch.

Skin Scan works by first taking a picture of a mole using the iPhone camera; the app then uses a proprietary algorithm to analyze the fractal-like shapes which exist in human skin. The algorithm then decides if the shape of the mole is developing normally, or abnormally into a potentially cancerous melanoma. Abnormal growth is noted to the user, and there is a feature to search for nearby doctors within the app.

The developer team, based in Romania, includes two dermatology doctors, as well as two mathematicians working on the algorithm. Mapping the severity and locations of user self-diagnoses is a great publicity move, but if the app's user base swells to a large enough group, the geo-specific data could also help public health officials map problem areas for skin cancer.

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