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The Blue Box

If dogs can smell cancer, why can't we? We built an AI-powered eNose for breast cancer urine testing

Judit Giro benet

  • Project Description

    Designed after a dog's olfactory system and olfactory neurons, The Blue Box is an AI-powered biomedical device aimed at in-home breast cancer testing in a non-invasive, non-irradiating, inexpensive, specific and user-friendly way... Just by introducing a urine sample in a BOX! During the 30 following minutes, the 9 chemical sensors inside The Blue Box (in direct contact with the urine) will start reacting to certain targeted breast cancer biomarkers - if any. The captured signal will then be sent from The Blue Box to the cloud, where our artificial intelligence algorithm is run. Our AI-based algorithm then outputs a classification rate of >95%. The Blue Box was created to elevate the need to provide better healthcare to every woman around the globe. By doing so, we aim at creating a change in the way we -as a society- fight breast cancer.
    The Blue Box
  • Why is the timing right for your idea?

    In October 2017 I started developing the 1st prototype of The Blue Box as my biomedical engineering bachelor thesis at the Universitat de Barcelona. With the ultimate goal of bringing this solution to all women in the world, I then moved to California, which seemed the right place to start pursuing this dream. Here at the University of California Irvine, I pursued the master of Embedded Cyber-physical Systems, where I met my friend Billy. He soon got motivated to bring in his computer science background. Now we not only enjoy working as a team but are also moved by the same passion: Providing every woman in the world with the possibility to prevent a deadly late-stage breast cancer.

  • What is your competitive advantage?

    In April 1989, Dr. Williams and Dr. Pembroke from King’s College Hospital, London reported a case in The Lancet about a Collie-Doberman who was licking a mole in its owner's leg. The mole was then shown to be cancerous, saving the patient’s life. This event proved that cancer causes metabolic changes, thus altering the body's taste. Since then, an increasing number of publications have been seeking the definitive set of breast cancer biomarkers. This would lead to an early-stage metabolites-based cancer test. Nonetheless, there does not exist a general consensus among authors yet. We, however, have followed a different approach to the challenge – based on engineering rather than experimental medicine. We have studied the dog's taste buds

  • What will you do with $10,000?

    Our goal is to take The Blue Box "from the lab into the hospital" in 2022. Our goal is to bring in different hospitals and committed doctors and start a clinical study to test the viability of the device when applied to early-stage breast cancer. To do so, however, we need to be able to afford the necessary equipment (around $80 per box), hospital fees and hopefully bring in an additional researcher into the team. If we were to be awarded this prize, we would be able to afford building 10 new Blue Boxes in addition to supporting two semesters of an additional researcher's work.