Intel holds competition to help spot cervical cancer

Intel and Israeli startup MobileODT call on startups to develop algorithm that diagnoses via smartphone images

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Tech giant Intel's campus in Santa Clara, California.  
Tech giant Intel's campus in Santa Clara, California. (AFP PHOTO / KIMIHIRO HOSHINO)

In a push to save the lives of millions of women in thirdworld countries, technology giant Intel Corp. is calling on startups to come up with an algorithm that will detect and diagnose cervical cancer from smartphone images.

The company has announced the Intel & MobileODT Cervical Cancer Screening contest, with applications accepted from startups by June 14.

Intel and MobileODT are appealing to startups to come up with the algorithm that will help diagnose the cervical cancer by analyzing smartphone images.

MobileODT, formerly called MobileOCT, is an Israeli startup that uses optical technology to transform a smartphone into a mobile, easy-to-use tool to help detect cancer by taking pictures for diagnostic and other analytical purposes. It has also developed apps to operate the devices and connect with software on the cloud to provide immediate and remote consultations for patients in areas of the world that lack immediate access to specialists.

A correct diagnosis helps avoid the use of ineffective therapies and allows healthcare providers to refer patients for more advanced treatments, the companies said in a joint statement.

Intel is offering $100,000 worth of prizes to the top three competition winners, of which $50,000 will go to the best solution. In addition, Intel will give a prize of $20,000 to the contender who makes the best use of the tools Intel makes available for the competition.

All contest participants will be allowed access to Intel’s Deep Learning SDK, a free software product that allows big data experts to train neural networks — artificial networks that emulate the learning method of a human neural network and serve as a tool for machine learning. The product was developed by Intel Israel’s big data analytics unit.

“We want to challenge developers, data scientists and students to develop artificial intelligence algorithms that would help solve tough real life problems in a range of fields, including medicine and healthcare,” said Doug Fisher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group. “These developments will help in taking real time decisions regarding therapy and provide first line response to women around the world who need early diagnosis of cervical cancer.”

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