How AI is helping to solve key fish health issues

How AI is helping to solve key fish health issues

Artificial intelligence is a comprehensive branch of computer science where machines are trained to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. The machines know nothing from the start, but they can be trained to recognise highly complex patterns.

At Nofima we have developed an AI package for the evaluation of salmon skin – the health of which is vital to the health of the whole fish – using the commercial Aiforia platform. In order to train the algorithm, we used several different sample sets, from 100 g smolt to 5 kg salmon that are ready for slaughter. This resulted in a unique AI-model that is able to measure salmon skin structures.

Many more samples

Skin is a type of tissue that is eminently suitable for machine learning as it consists of several different layers and cells in varying shapes, and sizes. The outermost skin layer, the epidermis is important for the health of the fish, as it seals the skin in order to prevent it from leaking, and is also involved in fighting off bacteria and viruses. This part of the skin also produces mucous, which acts as a protective layer around the fish. The subcutaneous tissue consists of scales and connective tissue which are important for the swimming movements and flexibility of the fish. All of these components were included in the AI-model, and during the course of 2020 nearly 1,000 images were analysed using machine learning.

Using the skin analysis AI software, we tested skin from salmon produced at a commercial location in northern Norway. With the help of the AI-model, we analysed many more samples than would normally have been possible when using manual methods, providing a far larger data set, and thus more reliable sample responses.

Mortality and skin quality

The AI results from commercial fish from the northern part of Norway, taught us that the dynamics of the skin’s epidermis and subcutaneous tissue are different. The dermis grows steadily as the fish develop. This means that the skin becomes thicker as the fish grows, something which in turn is important for its mechanical functions. The outer layer of skin, epidermis, is not connected to the growth of the fish. On the other hand, the structure of this layer changes in line with the external environment, for example if the temperature changes.

We were also able to establish further connections between mortality and skin quality. The mortality rate was highest during the first few weeks following transfer to sea, and it increased after transport and towards the end of the production cycle, when the fish were more often exposed to mechanical delousing. The mortality rate coincided with various structural impairments in the skin of the salmon. We know from previous studies that transfer to the sea weakens the skin’s immune system (Karlsen et al., 2018), and even superficial wounds (loss of mucous and scales) in healthy fish increase the risk of infection.

Future use of the AI model

Based on our analyses and previous studies on wound healing, it would appear that the skin is able to withstand some injuries and heal quickly. But we still know very little about the effects of repeated mechanical treatments on the skin’s ability to repair itself, or what percentage of scale loss causes problems with regulating the salt balance in the fish. More targeted scientific work is required in order to find out the thresholds for scale loss and skin damage for fish in the sea, and not least, how various forms of mechanical delousing and repeated treatments affect fish skin quality over time.

Having now used the software for several projects, we are starting to form an idea about what the skin of a healthy fish should be like. In order to obtain a better overview on general fish health, we have gone one step further and developed similar AI algorithms for the liver and gills. Our long-term goal is to create large, reproducible datasets for many organs, to better understand the relationships between the health of the organs, the production data and the way in which the fish have been treated. Such analyses will enable us to evaluate fish health in a more holistic and more intelligent way in the future.

Published at Fri, 19 Feb 2021 07:30:00 +0000

Edinburgh University selects Artificial Intelligence innovators to address global issues

BioLiberty co-founder Rowan-Armstrong tests the glove hoping to restore grip strength to boost muscle grip (Photo: BioLiberty).
BioLiberty co-founder Rowan-Armstrong tests the glove hoping to restore grip strength to boost muscle grip (Photo: BioLiberty).

The Post-Covid AI Accelerator based at Edinburgh University’s Bayes Centre, aims to help pioneering AI start-ups scale globally so they can go on to become world-leading companies, bringing jobs and economic benefits to Edinburgh and the region.

AI-powered robotic gloves and personalised medicines are just some of the 15 selected entrepreneurial projects for the AI Accelerator programme in partnership with Scale Space.

Entrepreneurs will each receive a £7,500 grant from the Scottish Funding Council through the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) scheme and the six-month AI Accelerator Programme starts on 18 February and runs until 15 July 2021.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Participants will benefit from specific and tailored advice as well as group working sessions and conferences to help their businesses grow.

The cohort has been selected from 86 applicants worldwide and follows three previous Bayes accelerators cohorts, which saw 29 companies raise significant investment in the Capital.

Mark Sanders, Executive Chairman, Scale Space who has been appointed as the new Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Edinburgh University said: “These successful companies are all bringing innovative thinking and technology to solve problems.

“The strength of the applicants is a testament to the burgeoning AI industry in Scotland and the University of Edinburgh’s role as a global leader in this area.

“Scale Space’s track record of helping businesses to scale complements the academic strengths at the University of Edinburgh and together we look forward to supporting the growth of the Accelerator participants.

“I look forward to helping them to get the most from the Accelerator programme and their engagement with Scale Space.”

Projects include an AI-powered robotic glove designed by BioLiberty to strengthen a person’s grip.

Ross O’Hanlon came up with the idea after seeing his aunt, who has multiple sclerosis, struggle to do tasks such as drink water or change the TV channel.

The glove hopes to help restore the independence of millions of people worldwide whose grip strength has weakend.

A personalised home-based digital therapeutics programmes developed by Neeuro will utilise Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology that incorporates machine learning to help ADHD children improve their attention span.

The technology also has the potential to be applicable to other brain health conditions.

Jim Ashe, Director of Innovation, Bayes Centre, College of Science and Engineering said: “In the lead up to COP26, Scotland has the opportunity to take its global focus anddemonstrate its leadership in AI, to deliver solutions to climate change, and economic challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Scottish Government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP said: “A key enabler of Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19 is digital and technology, so it’s great to see the University of Edinburgh’s Post-COVID AI Accelerator support companies exploring how AI can be developed and used in many areas, such as health, and helping to tackle the climate emergency.

“With Scotland’s AI Strategy due to be launched on 22 March, this is an encouragingdemonstration of some of the wealth of AI talent already in Scotland, budding international collaborations, and how AI can be used for good. I look forward to following the progress of the Accelerator going forward.”

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Published at Fri, 19 Feb 2021 06:56:15 +0000

Leave a Reply