A new technique is being used to diagnose a problematic eye disease over the internet, all thanks to a technology that helps find defects in semiconductors.
Ophthalmologist Edward Chaum of the University of Tennessee came up with the idea after a visit to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Chaum learned that engineers at the facility used an image recognition system to virtually automate the process of identifying bad chips, by comparing chip images to a database filled with bad batch examples.
"As [the engineer] was describing his methodology to me, it became very clear that what he was doing was exactly what I do as a physician when I'm examining a patient with diabetic retinopathy," Chaum said in regards to his visit. I look for specific features that are present in that retina and I go into my own [mental] library — thousands and thousands of patients I've seen over the years — to say, 'This is diabetic retinopathy of a certain level'" he continued.
"Telemedicine" has been a new field which doctors have only just begun to explore, but already it is opening the doors for new avenues of health care that some communities literally have no access to. Currently Chaum still goes over the results of his image recognition system to verify accuracy, however he has gone on record to state that it may only be a matter of months before the entire process is automated.
You can read more on this interesting topic at the "Weird Science" blog on Wired.com.