Computer Vision has already revolutionized other industries. The vision systems that Constellation builds on are much like the ones that proved effective in sending a driverless car coast-to-coast.
Partly because Constellation’s development relies on existing innovations, this potentially life-saving technology can be demonstrated to the market in less than one year.
Concerns over skin cancer have grown exponentially in recent years. Those with increased risk of skin cancer are spending billions annually on dermatologist visits and mole removal, and spending on sunscreen products and SPF clothing continues to climb. Despite the growing awareness and spending, skin cancer rates increase every year.
In 2011, revenues in the U.S. dermatology market climbed to approximately $10 billion.¹
IBISWorld cites high skin cancer rates as a driving force in the $1 billion U.S. sunscreen market.²
In terms of incidence rates, melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that 76,690 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2013.
According to the Pew Research Center, one in three American adults are “online diagnosers,” or have gone online to help determine if they have a medical condition.³ As technology has become more advanced, consumers want to take control over their health. Demand for at-home diagnostic tools has grown, and more and more smartphone apps are promising to alert consumers to possible signs of skin cancer. While these apps are growing in popularity, they are extremely limited in their effectiveness. Constellation is in an entirely different category, providing whole-body scanning, flagging subtle mole changes, and promising to change the future of early skin cancer detection resulting in easier treatment.
1. Source: Dermatologists in the US: Market Research Report.” IBISWorld, Dec 2011.
2. Source: Sunscreen Manufacturing in the US: Market Research Report.” IBISWorld, Nov 2012.
3. Source: Health Online 2013.” Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, January 15, 2013.
When detected early, skin cancer has a cure rate of 99%. But without early detection, survival rates for melanoma plummet. After metastasis, there is virtually no effective treatment for melanoma skin cancer.
Mole changes are the clearest indicators of possible skin cancer. These changes can be subtle and rather rapid, occurring between dermatologist visits. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), the majority of melanomas are found by patients, not by physicians.
Constellation gives patients a powerful new way to perform monthly scans that monitor hundreds of moles, virtually everywhere on the body, and detect even subtle changes.
An affordable price point puts Constellation within reach of a sizeable consumer segment that will welcome a way to conduct quick, monthly scans in the privacy of their homes. Commercial segments also offer diversified revenue opportunities:
In addition, Constellation lends itself to mobile screening programs aimed at underserved, high-risk populations such as agricultural workers.
Constellation leverages existing technology in groundbreaking ways. Leading scientists from MIT and Harvard are among those lending their depth of expertise to this project.
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Ramesh Raskar joined the MIT Media Lab from Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories in 2008 as head of the Lab’s Camera Culture research group. His research interests span the fields of computational photography, inverse problems in imaging, and human-computer interaction. Recent inventions include transient imaging to look around a corner, a next-generation CAT-scan machine, imperceptible markers for motion capture (Prakash), long-distance barcodes (Bokode), touch + hover 3D interaction displays (BiDi screen), low-cost eye care devices (NETRA), and new theoretical models to augment light fields (ALF) to represent wave phenomena.
Before joining MIT, he invented techniques for pocket-projector based Augmented Reality as well as Computational Photography. These projects include Shader Lamps (projector-based AR), composite RFID (RFIG), multi-flash non-photorealistic camera for depth edge detection, locale-aware mobile projectors, high dynamic range video, image fusion for context enhancement and quadric transfer methods for multi-projector curved screen displays.
In 2004, Raskar received the TR100 Award from Technology Review, presented to top young innovators under the age of 35, and in 2003, the Global Indus Technovator Award, instituted at MIT to recognize the top 20 Indian technology innovators worldwide. In 2009, he was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship. In 2010, he received the DARPA Young Faculty award. He holds more than 50 US patents, and has received four Mitsubishi Electric Invention Awards. He is currently co-authoring a book on computational photography. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of North Carolina where for his thesis he developed a prototype of the first true 3-D videoconferencing system.
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