SMARTSKINS – fostering early diagnosis of skin cancer

During the summer, people are normally more aware of skin cancer and skin diseases. At Fraunhofer AICOS, health is a continuous concern and SMARTSKINS is a result of that. It is a mobile-based framework for risk triage and early diagnosis of skin cancer, with the active involvement of an online community of dermatologists.

The SMARTSKINS project begun in 2013 and has been under development for two years. During that time, researchers from Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS and INEGI-LAETA, in joint collaboration with medical specialists from the Dermatology Department of the Portuguese Institute of Oncology of Porto, developed a Mobile Risk Triage Framework prototype, which automatically pre-processes, segments and extracts significant features for skin cancer pre-diagnosis and risk assessment from mobile-acquired skin images.

The SMARTSKINS solution aims to motivate and educate patients for the regular monitoring of their skin health status, as well as improve the communication between patients and dermatologists. We believe this solution has made a difference and will, hopefully, be mind and life changing!


SMARTSKINS is composed by 3 main components:


a) Patient Mobile Application
Using the Mobile Application, the patients can capture images of their skin lesions or load them from the mobile image gallery. Each patient can add several skin lesions, and each skin lesion can have several check-up images along the time. For each skin lesion the patient also indicates its localization and size, as well as some additional information to transmit to the dermatologist, like itching or redness.
After a doctor validates a check-up using the SMARTSKINS Web Interface, the system sends a report to the patient’s Mobile Application. In this way, the patient can keep a record of the evolution of their skin moles, always under the supervision of a dermatology specialist.

b) Back-end Server
The Back-end Server hosts the system database and the Image Processing Module (IPM). The IPM receives the skin lesion images acquired by the patient using the Mobile Application, and analyses different features of the skin lesion using supervised classification. Particularly, the IPM evaluates the Asymmetry, Border and Color criteria score according the ABCD rule, as well as the Overall Risk of the skin lesion.
Moreover, when the doctors examine a new check-up, they can always consult the output of the automatic analysis, which can assist them in the risk triage of the skin mole.

c) Web Interface
Using the Web Interface, doctors can consult and validate the check-up images sent by the patients. Each doctor can keep a record of the patients and respective skin lesions. Moreover, the doctors can also consult the automatic analysis provided by IPM, where it is possible to agree or correct the evaluation given by the automatic analysis.
The Web Interface is also used by the system administrator, which has the possibility to add new doctors to the database. Additionally, the administrator can consult the automatically generated statistics that compare the automatic analysis with the doctor’s analysis. In this way, the administrator has the option to use the contribution of the specialist community to retrain the IPM classifiers, which turns the SMARTSKINS framework in an adaptable tool that continuously 'learns' with the dermatologist community.


“SMARTSKINS: A Novel Framework for Supervised Mobile Assessment and Risk Triage of Skin lesions via Non-invasive Screening” is a joint project between INEGI-LAETA, Fraunhofer Portugal and IPO-Porto financially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia in Portugal (PTDC/BBB-BMD/3088/2012).