Aimed at Detecting Early Signs of Visual Impairment, Huawei’s TrackAI Project Sees Impressive Results
LONDON, ENGLAND, 17.06.2022 – Today, 1 billion children around the world have visual problems. Within this number, one in three remains undetected, and every minute a child goes blind. According to the World Health Organisation, young children with early onset severe vision impairment can experience delayed motor, language, emotional, social and cognitive development, which brings about lifelong consequences.
To combat this pressing problem, Huawei’s TrackAI project – which provides visual screenings to children in various regions – aims to safeguard eyesight via early detection, allowing for timely intervention. Showcasing at Europe’s biggest start-up and tech event, VivaTech, held in France from 15 – 18 June 2022, Huawei will share more on TrackAI’s technology, positive impact on early diagnosis of children, as well as plans for rollout in the coming year.
“Visual impairment interferes with children’s general development and social lives, and it is difficult to detect, as it is very complex to examine children at a very young age with whom communication can be challenging,” said Simon Zhang, Chief Brand Officer, Huawei Consumer Business Group. “The team at Huawei wants to promote an easy-to-use, portable and affordable device to help non-trained professionals identify these children early to get them medical attention, in hopes of achieving a world without visually impaired children.”
Under the project, a unique collaboration between Huawei and the DIVE Medical start-up has been developed. DIVE (Device for an Integral Visual Examination) presents different stimuli on a high-resolution screen and captures the gaze of the patient using an eye tracker. Huawei’s HiAI platform was used in combination with DIVE to create an artificial intelligence model, capable of automatically analysing the collected gaze data and estimating the probability of a patient having abnormal visual development. A Huawei smartphone is used alongside the DIVE device to control the execution of the visual exploration and the quality of the collected data, and to visualize the screening results in real time. With that information, the technician can decide if the child needs to be referred to a specialist.
The TrackAI project has been successful in detecting visual abnormalities in very young children. At this age, children often do not cooperate enough to perform traditional vision screenings, making it difficult for professionals to detect potential visual problems in regular health checks.
TrackAI celebrates significant global milestones since its inception
To date, the project has seen impressive results. From 2019 to 2021, 4,500 eye explorations were completed across various countries. In Spain alone, the Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet has completed more than 1,800 screenings with the Track AI project since September 2020.
By solving ophthalmological diagnostic challenges in very young children, TrackAI has already made an impact on the lives of many individuals. In Madrid, when screened in the TrackAI project, hypermetropia, one of the most common refractive errors in children, was detected in a four-year-old with no known visual issues. In Mexico, a three-year-old patient on a regular medical check-up presented a high risk of strabismus during the child’s TrackAI screening, which showed the contrast in visual acuity between the left and right eye.
"By rolling out the TrackAI screening project to test a sizeable population of children, we have been able to confirm its great potential. In the past few years, we have obtained information on the visual development of very young children, and children with neurocognitive disorders, who are always very challenging to explore,” shared Dr Victoria Pueyo, Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Chief Scientist at DIVE Medical. “We have also received very positive feedback from all the professionals involved the project."
Track-AI has greater plans in store for 2022
This year, the TrackAI project is set to make even more of an impact. Anticipated to help over 2,000 children in 2022, TrackAI has set its sights on expanding to cover more countries across Europe, Africa and Latin America, such as France and South Africa. Meanwhile, DIVE is updating the software and devices with the new Huawei P50 smartphone and Matebook E tablet, to improve the accuracy of this technology.
Now, after the initial stages of development of validation, the TrackAI screening project is ready to be expanded outside hospital centres. In 2022, the project is going to be extended to schools and kindergartens in order to bring early vision screenings to more children in all countries involved. Through the project, it will also be ensured that all children with high probability of having visual problems are referred to an ophthalmologist, who will perform a comprehensive examination to provide a diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment.
“This collaboration has allowed us to achieve incredible progress in the development and implementation of our visual screening platform. This demonstrates that large technological companies and researchers must work together to solve the challenges of our time. With Huawei’s support, we have been able to reach thousands of children, and are excited to continue on this journey towards the eradication of all preventable visual disorders.” said Marta Ortín, CTO of DIVE Medical.
As the project grows, it continues to benefit more children and their families, by providing an accurate, fast, and child-friendly solution for the early detection of visual problems. This year at VivaTech, Paris, Huawei announces the launch of TrackAI in France for the first time, collaborating with a local hospital and schools. The team aims to perform 400 screenings in France and help to prevent visual disease among local children. With VivaTech being France’s landmark tech and startup event, Huawei hopes to share it’s upcoming France rollout and highlight its commitment to bringing positive impact to the early diagnosis of children with visual impairment worldwide.
“Huawei is committed to making a difference in finding new ways to unlock health for all. By widening the coverage of the TrackAI project, we hope to offer more people access to accurate visual screening programmes to decrease the rate of undetected visual impairments, bringing greater value to individuals, families and communities all around the world,” Simon commented.
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TrackAI is a joint initiative between Huawei, IIS Aragon and DIVE Medical with a single vision, to stop blindness in its tracks.
Every day, 11,000 babies are born with a visual impairment and, according to World Health Organization estimates, around 800 million children in the world have a visual impairment. With timely intervention, 90 percent of all cases are preventable or curable. However, diagnosing children can be difficult because they can’t articulate what’s wrong with them. Now, AI is making early diagnosis a very real possibility.
At the start of 2019, Huawei teamed up with IIS Aragon and DIVE Medical to jointly launch the TrackAI project. TrackAI’s complete detection system consists of the DIVE device, a Huawei smartphone, and a Huawei MateBook laptop. The system can display visual stimuli on the screen and track the child’s focus with an eye tracker. The DIVE tracks the movement and reaction of the patient’s gaze in real time and then sends the data to the Huawei smartphone, which runs a pre-trained machine learning model powered by HiAI 2.0 to detect whether the patient has a visual impairment. From 2019 to 2021, 4,500 eye explorations were completed across various countries - including China, Spain, Vietnam and Mexico.