Google’s shift to an AI-first company has been emphasised by Sundar Pichai for quite a while now, and even though most of us consumers only look at the company’s AI and Machine Learning advancements insofar they apply to the Google Assistant, and Google Photos, the company does do a lot of research on machine learning and AI in fields like medicine as well.

In a talk given at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting, the company showed off a prototype AR microscope that is capable of detecting cancer in human tissues in real time.

This is huge because while pathologists currently use microscopes to check tissues for things like cancer, the process can be time-consuming. Google’s microscope can identify cancer cells in real time, and annotate them (using Augmented Reality) on the pathologist’s view inside the microscope itself, allowing the expert to quickly identify regions of interest in the tissue sample.

Google Has Made an AR Microscope that Can Detect Cancer in Real Time

Google has also ensured that its technology can be adopted even by groups with limited funding and developing nations. The company’s AR microscope is basically the same microscope that pathologists use, but with an added component for processing the images and showing the output. The company claims that this additional component can be attached to any existing light-microscope with very little investment and readily available components.

Google's AR Microscope system

The company has published its proof-of-concept study in a paper that is currently under review. Google has also said that while the ARM has been trained to identify cancer cells, it can also be used to identify other illnesses such as tuberculosis and malaria. Plus, by training the neural network differently, the company expects it to work non-medical fields as well, including things like life-sciences research, and material science.