The IEEE Central Texas Section Joint SMC-AES Chapter met on March 10, 2016 at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to hear a presentation on “Creating a Mobile Platform for Cervical Cancer Diagnosis.” The meeting was attended by 16 people, including 7 IEEE members and 9 guests. One person attended by webcast. The presentation was made by Nick Saulnier, who is an electrical engineering graduate student at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. In 2011, Nick received a four-year Martin Goland Scholarship from SwRI to attend SMU for his undergraduate study and he was also a recipient of a National Merit Finalist Scholarship. The subject for Nick’s talk was his master’s degree research project that he performed under the mentorship of his SMU faculty advisors: Dr. Dinesh Rajan and Dr. Prasanna Rangarajan.
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in developing countries. Although cervical cancer is relatively slow growing; the lack of simple, accurate, and inexpensive screening techniques that can be easily deployed to remote and undeveloped locations and administered by minimally-trained medical technicians has hampered efforts to achieve early detection of the disease. The goals of the current research program are to develop a hardware and software platform that allows a medical technician to use a cellphone camera to easily collect high-resolution cervix images. Design challenges included developing laser-based active autofocus, a beam splitter arrangement to project the laser directly over the camera’s field of view, polarization, and synchronized LED flash. The prototype system will be sent to researchers in Africa for field trials later this month.