Suðurnes Clinic Introduces AI-Powered Eye Screening

eye scanning in a suðurnes health clinic

The Suðurnes Hospital and Health Center has introduced machine-learning based screening for eye diseases caused by diabetes. It is the first of all Icelandic health clinics to offer such screenings.

Powered by an Icelandic startup

The screening uses a special camera powered by machine learning, developed by Icelandic tech startup Risk Medical Solutions (RMS). Established in 2009 by Professor Einar Stefánsson, Dr. Arna Guðmundsdóttir, and Professor Thor Aspelund, their flagship product is RetinaRisk, a suite of AI-trained cameras, an app, and custom APIs that can accurately predict the risk of sight-threatening eye diseases in patients.

According to RMS, diabetic eye disease is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. When detected early, however, it can be prevented in 90% of cases.

Inaugural screening well-attended

The inaugural AI-assisted eye scan was conducted on Friday, April 26. The screening was also attended by Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson, representatives from RMS, and delegates from the local Lions Club of Njarðvík, which provided a grant to assist in purchasing the system.

Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson stated:

“This innovation enables the important monitoring of eye health for people with diabetes in a simple and effective manner. Regular screening allows for timely intervention when necessary. Innovation in healthcare services involving artificial intelligence is extremely exciting, and we undoubtedly expect to see significant progress in this area in the near future.”

Can save time, resources

Damage to the retina is a common complication from diabetes, and it is essential to monitor the progression of retinal conditions to prevent vision impairment or blindness caused by the disease.

Such AI-assisted cameras can facilitate this monitoring, and by using it for screening, RMS state that unnecessary visits to eye specialists are also avoided, saving both time and resources.

Like reading about Iceland? How about winning a free trip to Iceland? Find out more here!

Iceland News Review: Help For Grindavík, AI, Eurovision And More!

INR

In this episode of Iceland News Review, we go in-depth on what assistance Grindavík residence will get, the valiant efforts being made to make the town safer and livable again, as well as how the financial recovery package has affected recent collective bargaining negotiations.

Also, a bill that could greatly restrict the use of AI in Iceland, a controversial new twist in Iceland’s possible participation in Eurovision, along with weather, road conditions, and much more!

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Parliamentarian to Submit Bill on Use of AI

Björn Leví of the Pirate Party

Björn Leví Gunnarsson, an MP for the Pirate Party, says that Iceland urgently needs a law in place on the use of AI, RÚV reports. A bill on that subject will be submitted within the next few days.

A controversial skit

To illustrate the importance of such a law, Björn referred to a skit in the year-end sketch comedy show Áramótaskaupið which used the AI likeness of beloved entertainer Hermann Gunnarsson, who passed away in 2013. The choice was controversial, and sparked a broader discussion about the legal ramifications on the use of AI.

In addition, he cited how AI is already being used in the US and the UK to spread misinformation.

The future does not wait

“The future doesn’t actually care about the speed limits within politics, which drags its feet in all projects for years, tossing them back and forth between committees and workgroups while things are happening,” he said.

Björn emphasised that the matter cannot wait for the European Union or some committee or another to catch up with ever-changing technology.

“We need to make it clear that the re-use of material that one could presume is real, whether we’re talking about images, video, sound or other media, is not permitted without the express consent of the individual in question or their immediate associates if the individual is deceased,” Björn said. “We need to respond to this immediately.”

Such a law would be put into effect through Iceland’s existing law on copyrights, he added. Parliament can expect the bill within the next few days.

Sounding Smart

artificial intelligence iceland

SOUNDING SMART What if artificial intelligence isn’t the death of human creativity but a tool to take it even further? SOUNDING SMART “In Iceland, you’re able to establish collaborations with people in three or four hours. You can just call someone in computer science or biology and say, ‘Hey, would you be up for a […]

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

Iceland’s Embla Joins Siri and Alexa

Embla virtual assistant

Icelandic speakers will soon have their own virtual assistant in their language – Embla. The app is the first of its kind  to understand and speak the Icelandic language. Embla is answering a widespread call for integrating the Icelandic language into technology. RÚV reported first.

Embla speaks Icelandic and she knows quite a bit. She can tell users the opening hours of shops, when the next bus is coming, and can even tell jokes. Like her “colleagues” Siri and Alexa, Embla doesn’t have the answer to every single question, but she can search through Wikipedia.

“There’s a demand for it, people talk a lot more to their devices,” stated Katla Ásgeirsdóttir, one of the app’s designers at startup Miðeind. “Children do this a lot, talk to computers and phones. And people speak English or other languages because Icelandic hasn’t been available. To have such technology on the consumer market is important for us and it’s not a moment too soon.”

The virtual assistant app has been in development for over a year and a half and is supported by a government initiative to integrate the Icelandic language into digital technology. It will become available to Android and Apple users in the coming days.