In early June, at the invitation of the European Commission to Brussels (Belgium), I toured some fascinating AI and blockchain-based projects, which the Commission is funding. Across industrial sectors, from healthcare to energy, from construction to retail, engineers are creating new technologies with potentially disruptive implications for the current architectural order of the global economy. One of the technologies, an “AI doctor”, shows great promise for the future of healthcare in Africa.

The solution is called CareAi: an AI-powered computing system anchored on blockchain that can diagnose infectious diseases, such as malaria, typhoid fever, and tuberculosis, within seconds. The platform is engineered to serve the invisible demographic of migrants, ethnic minorities, and those unregistered within traditional healthcare systems. By bringing AI and blockchain together, CareAi uses an anonymous distributed healthcare architecture to deliver health services to patients anonymously.  This makes it possible for these invisible cohorts to get access to basic healthcare, and useful contextual information without compromising their identities, for fear of deportation. This is important, as without access to health services, these communities might pose health risks to the wider population.

CareAi has three components, which include the machine, a finger prick, and a lab-on-a-chip — a mature technology that was originally pioneered by George Whitesides, a chemistry Professor at Harvard University. To use it, a finger is pricked for a drop of blood, and the blood is deposited onto the chip, which is then inserted into the machine. The blood sample is anonymized and then analyzed by the CareAi AI-based health assistant that references a vast array of medical and diagnosing libraries, dispensing advice with a corresponding rating of confidence. CareAi’s diagnosis is based on a statistical analysis of all of that data: if I see “A” in your blood and medical journals say that means you have malaria, CareAi can say whether you have malaria up to a certain confidence level. Based on the blood sample, the device would diagnose a disease where one exists. The outcome is delivered on the machine screen with a printout, providing confidence of analysis and further actions which may include prescriptions at participating pharmacies, or escalation for medical attention with NGO doctors who supply anonymous medical treatments.

Read more at hbr.org

Image Credit:   KATERYNA/KONSCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images 

News This Week

Innovations in Nanocomposites: A Future Outlook

Nanocomposites are a class of nanomaterials, where one or more nanostructured materials (organic/inorganic) are incorporated in metal, polymer, or ceramic to obtain a new material with many unique properties. Nanocomposites are applied in various [...]

New sensor detects ever smaller nanoparticles

Conventional microscopes produce enlarged images of small structures or objects with the help of light. Nanoparticles, however, are so small that they hardly absorb or scatter light and, hence, remain invisible. Optical resonators increase [...]

How Will the COVID Pills Change the Pandemic?

From a new article By Dhruv Khullar in the New York Times: New antiviral drugs are startlingly effective against the coronavirus—if they’re taken in time. n March, 2020, researchers at Emory University published a paper about a [...]

3D printing approaches atomic dimensions

 A new 3D printing technology makes the production of complex metallic objects at the nanoscale possible. A team of chemists led by a scientist from the University of Oldenburg has developed an electrochemical technique [...]