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Aussie Robotics researchers say their work is ‘revolutionising’ the health sector

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is undertaking robotic research aimed at developing new applications and technologies it says will revolutionise the health sector.

From the use of robotic systems in MRI’S and mammograms detecting melanomas and cancer to the introduction of a futuristic scan that detects morbidity, the centre — headquartered at the Queensland Univerity of Technology — is undertaking what it describes as ground-breaking research in the medical space, and “leading the way in robotic research globally”.

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision’s Gustavo Carneiro, a computer scientist at the University of Adelaide, specialises in machine learning, particularly relating to robotics, and in recent years has been focused on developing algorithms and robotic systems to be used in the medical field, particularly breast cancer diagnoses.

Carneiro recently created a deep learning algorithm with more than 500 images to help detect and classify masses in mammograms.

“Breast cancer is one of the major diseases affecting the lives of women across the globe. The analyses of breast masses from mammograms represents an important task in diagnoses which currently is predominantly a manual process subjective to the assessment of a clinical expert. We are pleased to be undertaking world leading research into how robotics can help improve the accuracy, accessibility and cost of this process,” says Carneiro.

And Carneiro and his team have also recently published a deep learning algorithm to detect morbidity. The system looks at elderly patients’ chest CT scans that don’t reveal anything outwardly unhealthy. Using the algorithm the scan can detect, with nearly 70% accuracy, if the patient will survive in the next five years.

Carneiro says Australia’s ageing population has significant costs and challenges and there is a range of benefits that stem from using robotics in the heath sector.

“By 2050 a quarter of Australia’s population will be over 65 and this has significant economic costs and productivity challenges. With reliable low cost robotics, we can dramatically reduce the cost and increase efficiency and accessibility of healthcare.

“Robots and algorithms are going to play a large diagnostic role in clinics in the future. Research in radiology, in particular, has a range of advantages for the health industry and population. We are seeing that using robotic technology to assess results of MRIs and mammograms will drastically reduce the amount of follow-up scans, thus saving valuable time and money for both patients and the health sector.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).