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Bakery's Scanner To Identify Pastries Can Also I.D. Cancer Cells


Human ingenuity seems to know no bounds.

This can be said both for the things that we invent, and also for the way that we apply that knowledge in the real world.

There's new technology that can help identify cancer cells.

Unsplash | National Cancer Institute

This is big, as anything that helps in the fight against cancer is welcome news.

But this story comes with a serious twist, one that almost makes it sound like it came out of The Onion.

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It all started with pastries.

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Yes, pastries.

Japanese consumers tend to prefer food that isn't wrapped up, because it gives the impression of freshness.

Bakeries have also found that, the better their selection and variety, the more stuff they'll sell.

With hundreds of unlabelled pastries and breads at bakeries, it quickly becomes overwhelming for employees to ring the items in.

So they developed a scanner.

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The scanner can differentiate between different types of breads and pastries.

Unsplash | Markus Spiske

But, of course, this in itself is not particularly noteworthy news.

The scanning technology, which took five years, created a specialized AI algorithm that can not just identify pastries, but, as it turns out, identify cancer cells.

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How is that possible?

Unsplash | Michael Longmire

It isn't much of a stretch.

The same tech that can analyze the appearance of different pastries can be applied to identifying different cells under a microscope — all much faster, and with more precision, than human eyes are capable of.

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Medical labs are buying up the technology.

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The most important application here is the tech's ability to identify different cells in a tissue sample, but the possibilities are virtually endless.

Let us know what you think of this breakthrough in the comments below!

h/t: The New Yorker

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