Digital technology may make microscopes obsolete
Digital pathology is opening up new possibilities in modern medicine, and the era of optical microscopy may be coming to an end. Following joint efforts by computer experts and pathologists, new tools allow microscope slides to be digitised, annotated and classified using easily accessible platforms. With Project Cytomine, researchers at the University of Liège have stayed in the forefront of the development of biomedical tools. The advantages of the application involved are many. Slide information can be stored and shared, and displayed for teaching purposes. Above all, the programme performs part of the tedious work of analyzing biological cells and tissues, which is the daily grind of the pathologist. This software has possibilities that go beyond the university, and its continued development will be guaranteed through the launch of a spin-off in late 2014.
An intelligent algorithm…
But the new field of bioinformatics developed rapidly and soon won respect. In 2005 Raphaël Marée designed a generic model for the automatic recognition and classification of images as part of his doctoral research. There was nothing specifically medical about this development; the method could work with any images, and it was designed to classify them in terms of what they represented. This algorithm was much imitated. The technology improved around it, and when Raphaël Marée began to work with Benjamin Stévens, the programme was aimed at the biomedical field.