It’s a device that scans a patient’s retina to diagnose potential issues in real time.

How it works:  After the retina is scanned, the images are then analyzed by DeepMind’s algorithms, which return a detailed diagnosis and an “urgency score.” It all takes roughly 30 seconds. The prototype system can detect a range of diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Most notably, it can do this as accurately as top eye specialists, DeepMind claims. The system was tested out publicly at an event in London last week. The research behind it was published in Nature Medicine last August.

The aim: Its to create an AI tool that generalist doctors can use to see if a specialist is needed, how urgently, and why, according to DeepMind’s senior clinician scientist Alan Karthikesalingam. 

Timings: The system, which has been developed with clinicians at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London over the last three years, hasn’t been submitted for regulatory approval yet, so it may be many years before it becomes more widely available, according to a DeepMind spokesperson. If it gets approval it will be initially offered to Moorfields consultants to use for free, according to the FT.

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