AI disease detection, digital twin among 10 new projects to be trialled in WA

Wednesday, 21 June, 2023

AI disease detection, digital twin among 10 new projects to be trialled in WA

Ten high-tech digital solutions have been selected from almost 100 global submissions in a worldwide search to help improve the delivery of healthcare in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

In October last year, the WA Government issued a $5 million global challenge to researchers, calling for world-leading medical research and innovation solutions to improve health service delivery in the Pilbara.

The 10 finalists were chosen following two stages of judging from experts and stakeholders on the ground in the North West. The group presented a wide range of ideas which leverage technology to help different groups within the Pilbara community.

The innovations include a microneedle patch to help screen for skin cancers, cameras with integrated AI that aid in screening for eye disease, and digital imaging which ‘understands’ people’s health needs in a virtual world using 3D goggles.

Another finalist has designed a solution to help close communication gaps between Aboriginal community members and healthcare workers. New technology is being combined with ancient wisdom, adapting artificial intelligence to speak to patients in their traditional language, as well as ‘digital yarning’, using computer integration developed by the CSIRO for sharing medical records.

The 10 finalists who have progressed to the Proof-of-Concept stage are:

BHP Group Limited, Rio Tinto and the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund have partnered to deliver the $5 million prize, which will be announced in October 2024.

Each of the 10 finalists have been awarded $200,000 to embed their concept in the Pilbara for 12 months to prove it works. The group will partner with key health stakeholders in the region, to help them understand the unique landscape, population, and local health needs, and develop culturally appropriate applications.

Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson said, “The global attention the Challenge has attracted has put Western Australia in the spotlight as a leader in medical research. 

“All 10 finalists are from Australia, and eight originate from WA, proving we breed innovative thinkers and support entry-level ideas.

“It’s also great to see some of the major scientific agencies step up to the Challenge, with CSIRO, Telstra Health, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia among the finalists.”

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said, “Making sure these projects are culturally appropriate and work on the ground in the Pilbara is key, which is why I’m excited to see how these ideas evolve during the proof-of-concept phase.”

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