What are we cooking?

Do you know that photograph pregnant women get after a sonograph that is all black and white and some sort of a spectre in it, which they keep telling you is the baby who has your nose and aunt Sonia’s head shape, but you’re not really listening because you are busy calling Ghost Busters and preparing a ring of white chalk with bat blood spilled around it? It’s hard to believe, but the actual aim of this check is not to scare the living bejeesus out of the few still functioning grey cells you have left, but to check for something wrong with your baby. For example, if it has aunt Sonia’s head shape, or is displaying symptoms of being the son of the devil, which, let’s face it, all kids seem to be.

The sonographer looks at every part of the baby to see if there’s anything abnormal . When he has compiled a list of abnormalities with his wizard-like skills and has drawn rectangles around some white things exactly like all the other white things that he didn’t draw a rectangle around, all to his satisfaction, he will then try to match this set of abnormalities with the syndromes he knows to come up with a diagnosis. That’s where we come in.

The software we are developing will be used by sonographers to suggest possible syndromes based on the anomalies they find. They input all the anomalies(or abnormalities or symptoms) they find into our software, and we come up with a couple of suggestions of syndromes that fit these anomalies.

Through many discussions we were able to clearly define the functions of the software to the following:

  1. Accept and handle all types of anomaly inputs, and organize the whole process to be as efficient and easy to use as possible.
  2. Given a list of anomalies, produce a list of the most probable syndromes.
  3. Suggest areas for the sonographer to examine to exclude as many syndromes as possible, and increase the confidence of others.
  4. Provide detailed information on the suggested syndromes when requested.
  5. Works on both PC and Android platforms.

The first and last requirements are constantly challenging for us, since they require us to think from the point of view of someone every developer tries to forget and magically manages to do so with little effort: the user. This, the fact that it’s challenging and torturous, is probably the reason we like this application so much. We are masochists. Err, I mean we like challenges. Yep, that’s it. It helps us grow and all that.

The second requirement is the heart of the application. If the application was the fellowship of the ring, this requirement is Frodo. It’s Neo to the Matrix. Wait, no, Neo destroys the Matrix. It’s Neo to the rebellion then? I need to re-watch this series again.

We couldn’t start implementing the application right away though, because there was no data available yet. We needed syndromes and their corresponding anomalies. So our first order of action was to make a tool to insert them. The next post will detail how we did that, what framework we used and why, as well as a picture of a minion.


4 thoughts on “What are we cooking?

    1. Yeah, I think it’s great too, even though it’s more than a little bit outside my comfort zone or the field I want to pursue. I’m enjoying it though, and we made good progress so far. That’s why I decided to make this blog, I want to document the experience. And write something amusing too, I like to do that.
      I wanted to congratulate you on the new job by the way, I think you’ll be an excellent TA.

      Liked by 1 person

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