Partnership Develops Patented Video Game Software for Age-Related Macular Degeneration Research


A partnership that includes BALANCED Media|Technology, the Retina Foundation at Southwest and Southern Methodist University (SMU), today unveiled a patent-pending medical imaging technology that uses automated software and a video game to deliver standardized, precise information and precise identification of eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

According to a press release, the partners also signed an exclusive 10-year licensing, development and commercialization agreement for BALANCED to bring medical imaging technology to the $35 billion AI healthcare market.

The press release noted that to help the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, BALANCED created and funded an original video game, Eye in the Sky: Defender. The partners noted that the game uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) retinal images embedded in the game environment to create human computer image segmentation. As players predict the path of the alien force in the game, they unknowingly learn to draw lines used to perform diagnostic measurements of OCT retinal scans and create new datasets.

When integrated with BALANCED’s Hewmen artificial intelligence (AI) platform, these new datasets were used by RETINA experts and SMU researchers to provide the insights needed to train a machine learning (ML) algorithm to analyze OCT images more accurately and precisely.

According to Corey Clark, Assistant Director of Research and Assistant Professor of Computing and Engineering for SMU Guildhall, Assistant Professor of Computing at SMU Lyle School of Engineering and Technical Director of BALANCED, the collaboration between man and machine is the next step in machine learning and AI.

“This app is a great example of how injecting human knowledge and intuition into the machine learning process is able to create something that neither of them was able to do on their own,” said Clark said in a statement. “This is just the first step. I think we’ll see a lot more exciting things come out of these collaborations in the future.

According to the press release, by leveraging this level of Human Computing Model in the Loop (HITL), as well as Human Computing Gaming (HCG), it is now possible to use AI to rapidly analyze millions of individual datasets (retinal images) to detect patterns and pathologies that would have been impossible or impractical given the scope.

“This technology could be a game-changer for researchers and drugmakers in analyzing data on disease progression, drug trials, and treatment effectiveness for age-related macular degeneration, among other things. diseases,” said Karl Csaky, MD, PhD, CEO and CMO at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest. “With this technology, we are seeing substantial improvements in image analysis, a reduction in our time and costs, and a significant increase in the number of images processed and the associated accuracy and precision. of image processing.

Csaky recently joined BALANCED as an advisor, assisting the company as it prepares to commercialize its medical imaging technology.

The research was made possible by a $2.5 million grant

Supported by a $2.5 million grant from WW Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), RETINA and SMU Lyle School of Engineering partnered in a collaborative venture six years ago to help rapidly prototype new diagnostic and clinical treatment approaches, focusing on the specific needs of patients who lose their sight due to age-related macular degeneration.

According to the press release, the research behind the patent filing is the result of this effort.

“We are thrilled to see this application of human-computer collaboration in a gaming environment make a difference to AMD‘s critical health challenge,” said Marc Christensen, dean of SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, in a statement. communicated. “We believe this activity is a great example of how artificial intelligence and gaming technology are permeating large corners of our daily lives.”


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