A Tool to Identify Skin Infections in Canines
A web interface that identifies the type of skin infection in a canine.
Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Start-Up (first few activities have happened)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
The main problem that my project is targeting to solve is identifying common skin infections in canines. Most of the time, these infections can be easily treated with over the counter medication. Often, canines develop skin infections, that need immediate relief, but, the availability of veterinarians and the costs associated with the hospital visit, delay the diagnosis and treatment. This is especially an issue if the dog is abandoned or stray.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
My project is an intuitive, web-based interface that identifies the type of skin infection a canine has, by having the user input an answer to a set of questions. These questions were based off of the research that I performed on each skin infection, and the corresponding symptoms. This application utilizes conditional logic, in order to navigate the user via successive questions, in order to arrive at a diagnosis. My application can currently identify over 20 of the most commonly seen skin infections, and I am working on incorporating AI and machine learning into my app to increase it’s accuracy and efficiency. Alongside this, I recently visited a local veterinarian at the Saratoga Veterinary Hospital who was impressed by the project and validated its accuracy and feasibility in the field. My program is effective because it helps reduce unnecessary costs and visits to the vet. I plan to implement it by supplying my tool to countries such as India, where there are so many stray and abandoned dogs that could use such a technology. I also plan to promote it within my own community, by bringing it to local animal shelters.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
This project was inspired by my own dog, who had developed a rash last year, right around Thanksgiving. The vet was unavailable and we did not want to rush her to the emergency room for something so minor. Seeing your pet restless and uncomfortable is not easy, so I took the initiative to do an online search and find out what was going on. After doing extensive research, I applied the triple antibiotic cream we had, and made her wear her dog booties. It ended up working, and she was relieved of the irritation soon. That’s when I figured, that many pet owners could use such a tool. Another inspiration for me was visiting multiple animal shelters and seeing a lot of abandoned animals on the streets of underdeveloped countries like India. After seeing such conditions, I strongly feel that this application can be widely used and adopted by people all over the world.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
I am stepping up to make a change because I have a genuine passion for helping animals, and I felt the urge to make a change, after visiting local animal shelters, and seeing so many stray dogs out on the streets. It felt as if it was my duty to do something about this, and take action, so I did.
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
The process of using my application is extremely simple for the user. The first screen that pops up is the welcome screen. From there, the application starts asking the user simple questions, based off visible symptoms, that only require a “yes” or “no” answer. These questions were formulated using a flowchart that I made to guide me on where to send the user, based on their previous responses. After answering a few simple questions, the user is provided with the type of skin infection the canine has, along with some remedies to help cure it.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Currently, the only method for identifying skin infections is taking the dog to the veterinarian. There are no technologies similar to mine, which are designed to do the same thing.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
My project has been fully built, and it can currently identify over 20 skin infections. I plan to engage users through connecting with local veterinarians, as well as furthering my reach by bringing my app to countries such as India, where there are many stray and abandoned dogs. I have already gotten my project verified by a veterinarian for accuracy and feasibility.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
In the near future, I plan to bring my project to local animal shelters and expand the usability and functionality based on user feedback.
For the next step, I want to further my impact by taking my project to countries like India, and relieving stray and abandoned animals of their suffering, where this technology can have an incredible effect, and empower us, to be the voice for these poor animals who cannot speak for themselves. In order to make this application accessible by all, I have ensured that my application is completely free of cost for all users.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
How did you hear about this challenge?