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Jamie Kyle Ashby

8th Grade, Booker T. Washington Middle School
Newport News, VA

Jamie used machine learning to develop a smart phone app that can analyze a user’s photo of their skin, then display what it thinks the bug bite or skin condition is.

Skin in the Game: Diagnosing Skin Conditions and Bug Bites on a Cell Phone Using Machine Learning

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Project Background

“Any time I had a skin rash or bug bite, my aunt would claim it was ringworm, regardless of if it actually was ringworm,” Jamie says. But what if there was a system that could identify various skin conditions, he wondered. He previously used machine learning to train a program to tell the difference between cattle and sheep, so Jamie decided to make a smartphone app called Skin in the Game that could do the same for different skin conditions and bug bites.

Tactics and Results

Jamie collected lots of photos of bug bites, including those from spiders, mosquitoes and ticks. He also found photos of skin conditions like eczema, acne and ringworm. Using these, he taught a machine learning algorithm to recognize the different types of bug bites and skin problems. Jamie designed the app so that a person can take a photo of their skin, which gets analyzed by the algorithm. Then, the screen shows the name of the bite or condition, and the percentage of how closely the picture matches the diagnosis. In testing with new photos, Jamie’s app correctly identified most of the bites and conditions at least 75% of the time. “Skin in the Game is an effective, portable, low-cost tool for diagnosing various bug bites,” he says. “It could save users time and money by quickly identifying many skin problems.”

2023 Thermo Fisher JIC Finalist Jamie Ashby with project: Skin in the Game: Diagnosing Skin Conditions and Bug Bites on a Cell Phone Using Machine Learning 2023 JIC Finalist Jamie Kyle Ashby

Beyond the Project

“The next step would be to further train my app with even more images to make the findings more accurate,” Jamie says. He would also like to come up with a more aesthetic design for the app.

Other interests

Jamie enjoys playing violin, skateboarding, soccer and gaming. “Gaming is the way that my friends and I connect after school and immerse ourselves in different worlds,” he says. He hopes to create video games in the future as a software developer. “The market for VR and immersive games is growing, and I want to participate,” Jamie notes.

2023 Thermo Fisher JIC Finalist Jamie Ashby