Two Baylor faculty members have collaborated to create a new smartphone app that allows users to screen their children for retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer, just by taking a picture.
Dr. Bryan Shaw, an assistant professor of chemistry in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, has a personal connection to the topic: his son Noah lost his right eye to retinoblastoma. Noah was diagnosed at three months of age, but signs of the disease showed up much sooner. In photos taken in the first few weeks of Noah’s life, Shaw and his wife noticed that his right eye had a white glow that was very different from the red-eye effect commonly seen in photographs of children. The white-eye effect can be a normal photography artifact, but can also indicate serious eye diseases including retinoblastoma.
Shaw teamed with Dr. Greg Hamerly, an associate professor of computer science in Baylor’s School of Engineering & Computer Science, to develop the app. Hamerly and several of his graduate students used machine learning techniques to develop software that could distinguish between images of a normal eye and those that may show signs of disease. The app can scan existing photos on the user’s phone to look for images that may show cause for concern, or it can be used to take new photographs for evaluation.
The app, called CRADLE (ComputeR Assisted Detector of LEukocoria), is available free for iOS devices on the Apple iTunes store. More information about Shaw’s research is available on his laboratory’s website.