The health care startup’s AI-based, radiation-free method is making breast cancer screening more accessible
In 2013, as head of the data analytics team at a multinational technology company in Bengaluru, Geetha Manjunath was fathoming ways to unleash analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) in health care.
At the time, her team was running a pilot to measure the heartbeat of newborns using web cameras at Manipal Hospital in Karnataka’s Udupi, 400 km west of capital Bengaluru. Manjunath was pondering over broader applications of the cameras in medical diagnosis.
She learnt about how thermal imaging was being used in detecting breast cancer. “We started experimenting with breast thermography as an exploratory project. Initially we used just image processing algorithms for identifying the tumour’s location. Later, we thought why not use AI to identify benign and malignant tumours?” recalls Manjunath, now the CEO of Niramai, a health care startup she launched in 2017, borrowing a page from the side project she commissioned at her former employer, whom she declined to identify citing non-disclosure clauses. Her Linkedin profile, however, suggests she was employed with Xerox during this time.