Verily, Google’s former Life Sciences division, teamed up with a French pharmaceutical company to help treat diabetes just a few months ago. Now, it has joined forces with Nikon to enhance the screening process for diabetic retinopathy and macular edema — diabetes-related eye diseases and two of the leading causes of blindness in adults. They want to create machine learning-enabled retinal imaging technologies that can detect the diseases in their early stages. That way, doctors can step in and prevent the patients from going blind whenever possible.
The details of the partnership aren’t entirely clear at this point, but Nikon will apparently use its expertise in “optical engineering and precision manufacturing, its proprietary ultra-widefield technology and strong commercial presence among eyecare specialists.” Verily, on the other hand, is in charge of the machine learning technology side of things.
Verily has been pretty busy since it became a separate company a year ago. In addition to its diabetes-related projects, it launched its own robot surgery spinoff and created a sensor-laden health-tracking watch. It also developed a wearable microscope that can see inside a person’s skin, so doctors can detect cancers and monitor drug delivery in a patient’s body.