Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Build an App for Diabetic Retinopathy Detection with Azure Custom Vision

“Genius is in the idea. Impact, however, comes from action.” -Simon Sinek


Author Intro:

Hi, I am Jingyi, a Beta Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador, an undergrad studying Management Information System at McGill University, and an evangelist for edgy technical solutions. I am always passionate about learning new stuff, and I enjoy helping others through problem-solving or coaching. My goal is to use technology to solve important problems and make a positive impact. 



To learn and empower others, that's why I decided to apply for the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador program. I was excited to receive the acceptance email by October 2021. Quickly after I got familiarized with the program, the social impact project started in January 2022.  In an original team of four ambassadors from different parts of the world, we embarked on a new and exciting journey for the greater good of the Healthcare community.





Problem statement:

Diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes complication that affects eyes, might cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems at first but can lead to blindness. Careful management of diabetes is the best way to prevent vision loss. Doctors detect this by dilating the patients' pupils and photographing their retinas. This is a manual process but it is one that can be automated with the help of AI image models! We have the idea of a hands-on workshop with the deliverable of an app that can detect diabetic retinopathy, using Azure Custom Vision and Power Apps. To make it more flexible, we documented our workshop in the Microsoft Github Workshop O Matrix such that people can follow along asynchronously. 


Jingyi2419_0-1651237943712.png   This is a brief of what our solution looked like. 


The purpose of the workshop:

Through this project, anyone can build an app that detects Diabetic Retinopathy by...

  1. Drawing automatic & accurate detection insights from datasets
  2. Using the Custom Vision service to create an image classification solution
  3. Customizing a Power app by adding controls, images, and logic.

Moreover, why would anyone be interested in using our workshop template and presenting this solution in your community? Following are the reasons:

  1. Empowering viewers to learn more about MS AI and PowerPlatorm services
  2. Enriching audiences’ project portfolios by walking through how to build a solution
  3. Directing people to more Healthcare related learning resources
  4. Boosting Alpha-ambassadors' advancement to Beta level!

Not convinced yet? Here are some examples:

  • In our live workshop, we received positive feedback from participants. They expressed that after the event, they are more confident in using those services and navigating relevant learning resources!               



  • Anyone can re-purpose and/or localize the workshop to showcase the solution and creation process. We are glad to have Microsoft Cloud Advocate, Jim Bennet, to present this workshop in the reactor session. We haven't communicated before so this proves workshop resources are 'grab-and-go'!                                                             



  • Custom Vision's high model precision rate + Power App's limitless pivoting directions = a great solution foundation for problem-solving. As you can see from our model performance metrics based on more than 60 sample sizes, our model has a high precision rate. By integrating that into Power App, we automated the process of medical diagnosis. This solution could empower diabetic patients who have limited access to eye doctors and bring more awareness about this complication. However, our point is anyone can modify this solution and tweak the logic a bit to solve any problem in the area they are passionate about!




Team Challenges: 

Of course, we faced a lot of challenges along the way, which are great opportunities as well.


Ideation and pivoting project type

For example, in the beginning, we have this interesting idea but it didn't fit our initial project purpose. We struggled with whether to let it go. After reaching out to our League cloud advocate Lee Stott, we learned that it is possible to pivot the idea into a workshop project. It is very nice of Lee to answer all of our's questions and offer weekly mentorship meetings for our workshop development.



Time management and globalized team

Having determined our overall direction and gathered feedback from Lee, we were able to divide work and move faster. Nevertheless, we lost two of our team members halfway through the project due to personal time commitments. Meanwhile, I and my co-team lead, Sanya, started to work longer and harder with the goal of delivering the workshop in time. It wasn't easy since we also need to balance with school work plus we started a bit late after pivoting. But we are passionate about delivering this project and luckily, we did manage to do that.


Learning curve

Personally, I worked on the workshop documentation on Github and workshop presentation while my teammates developed the App solution. As a business student, it was quite a bit learning curve for me at first to pick up Github like how to set a repository and do pull requests. Moreover, as it is important to go through step by step with audiences for creating the solution, I researched extensively and gradually built up my first Power App along the way. Looking back, it was an amazing learning experience and the guidance received from the Microsoft team helped to improve our solution and think out of the box. The learnings that I carry ahead will not only help my career but also is a testimony of my skills. In addition, it is good to know that we avoided the 'curse of expertise' by letting me draft the content! 



Summary and next steps:

Thanks for reading till the end! In this blog, we went through some brief background such as the project problem statement and workshop purpose. Hope the sharing of our team challenge would be insightful for your project management. Again, You can find all info about our workshop here. Feel free to check out other amazing workshops and present whichever you like to your community. 




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