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Beat skin cancer with your smartphone

Beat skin cancer with your smartphone
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in the U.S. and the deadliest. But, it can often be cured if caught early enough.

Seems like a good idea to get screened regularly, doesn't it?

A group of researchers at Duke University agreed. In fact, they even came up with a really unique, painless way. The team actually developed a gigapixel whole-body camera that captures high-resolution images that will allow doctors to quickly and effectively diagnose melanoma.

Gigapixel camera

Don't you just love it when technology provides a great health solution?

This solution did not come without great effort. The gigapixel camera was assembled with 34 microcameras arranged in a dome shape that are synchronized to capture a single image. The result is a photo so detailed that individual freckles can be studied. The dome shape was found ideal to naturally correct photo aberrations that previously existed in experimental camera models.

The camera itself is yet to go through clinical trials. When it does, the technology will be made available for routine use with patients. Preliminary tests, however, have already proven that the super-camera is already effective enough to screen for diseases with incredible accuracy. In fact, the internal microcameras may even be adjusted independently if a physician wants to focus on a specific area.

One of the researchers and co-author of the camera's recent medical journal Daniel Marks, writes, “[it’s] designed to find lesions potentially indicating skin cancers on patients at an earlier stage than current skin examination techniques.”

The researcher further notes in the paper that while not as high-resolution as dermatoscopes, this new gigapixel camera’s advantage lies in the fact that its imaging area is much larger and could allow doctors to examine and diagnose their patients from afar.

It is hard not to be optimistic about all the lives that could potentially be saved. Anything to help our endless fight against cancer is significant, so kudos to Duke research team and thank you for your tremendous efforts.

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