Technical Capabilities

Imaging Analysis

The LBT AI platform is an extensible system which can support a range of different machine learning approaches. The platform includes a custom-designed, high‑speed classification system whose utility has been shown in a range of image processing applications.

Many image processing applications require small areas of interest to be found within large images. In the case of cultures plates, most images will be predominantly agar, or in histopathology, the bulk of each slide will show healthy, normal tissue.

The system therefore takes a two stage approach – the first stage is designed to rapidly discard areas of no interest while the second stage is designed to perform a detailed analysis of the areas that remain. This allows the system to be both fast and accurate – a trade off which is typically difficult to achieve. To date, no other classification approach has been able to match this system.

Imaging Analysis
Chromogenic and blood agar bi-plate showing APAS classification of a common cause for urinary tract infections.

At LBT our AI technology is clinically proven to go beyond being purely assistive.

Artificial Learning
Mueller Hinton plate showing measurement of zones of inhibition in antibiotic susceptibility testing
Artificial Intelligence

LBTs APAS technology is based on an image processing platform with artificial intelligence at its heart. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a commonly used phrase, which has very different meanings in different contexts. Current applications of AI are typically assistive technologies – where software aids one or more humans to make better or more consistent decisions. A typical benefit of this arrangement is speed. Computers excel at making well defined decisions very rapidly, but are poor at unstructured, inventive thinking – the opposite of the human mind.

APAS is designed to assist microbiologists process their workflow more rapidly, efficiently and consistently. The core technical which underpins APAS has three key components – image capture, image processing and decision making. These components form a platform capability which can be applied to other problems.

APAS has been applied to the screening of clinical culture plates. Another common use case in pathology laboratories is the interpretation of antibiotic sensitivity testing plates, or AST plates. These plates have a very similar workflow to cultures plates, from a processing perspective, but require the zone-sizes to be measured. LBT have proof-of-concept software for perform zone-size measurement, along with the identification of synergies and interferences between zones.

Another application, in a different area of the pathology laboratory, is the interpretation of gram stain slides. Interpretation of gram stain slides requires specialised staff to be occupied for a large percentage of their time, on a repetitive task – an ideal candidate for automation. LBT have performed proof-of-concept work on these slides, demonstrating an ability to detect and identify bacteria in microscopy images.