Google Is Making an Augmented Reality Microscope for the DoD

Sep 4 · 2 min read
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(Image by Konstantin Kolosov from Pixabay)

Google Cloud has won a Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) contract to improve cancer detection using artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

By Matthew Humphries

Google is set to take advantage of its experience with artificial intelligence and augmented reality to help the Department of Defense (DoD) improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and treatment.

Google Cloud this week secured a contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), an organization within the DoD focused on scaling commercial technology within the department. The task for the Google Cloud team is to produce a prototype of an “AI-enabled digital pathology solution at select DoD facilities.”

As part of the project, Google will create an augmented reality microscope capable of overlaying AI-based information on the samples doctors are looking at. Combined with a number of pathology-based cancer detection tools, it’s hoped the “overwhelming volume of data” physicians are presented with when making diagnosis and treatment decision can be used more effectively and that the current estimated rate of 5 percent diagnoses errors (12 million people) reported within the US every year can be brought down.

“To effectively treat cancer, speed and accuracy are critical,” said Mike Daniels, vice president, Global Public Sector, Google Cloud. “We are partnering with DIU to provide our machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to help frontline healthcare practitioners learn about capabilities that can improve the lives of our military men and women and their families.”

As to how Google intends to approach the problem, the open source end-to-end machine-learning platform TensorFlow will play a major role. Google will also take advantage of its Cloud Healthcare API to provide a number of pre-built data processing and intelligent analytics tools as part of this new system. At the same time, all personal health information and personally identifiable information will be removed from the process, ensuring patient privacy alongside (hopefully) much more accurate diagnoses for those individuals.

If successful, Google and the DIU plan to roll out the solution to select Defense Health Agency treatment facilities and Veteran’s Affairs hospitals first. After that, the US Military Health System will gain access, assuming it proves successful and cost-effective.

Originally published at

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