Since Pilbara Faces was first launched in 2017, it has already helped to solve a number of challenging medical mysteries in the Pilbara. With one third of genetic and rare diseases presenting with some form of facial clues, being able to accurately track these subtle abnormalities has unlocked incredible opportunities for the effective diagnosis and treatment of a range of rare diseases.

Pilbara Faces utilises the purpose-built Cliniface platform to visualise and analyse 3D facial images, creating a library of photographs of Aboriginal children’s faces. The platform allows 3D surface scans to be conducted with incredible accuracy, picking up even the smallest abnormalities in measurements that could easily be missed through traditional manual measurements.


Benefits of using Cliniface

As the Pilbara faces project has seen, the Cliniface software offers a number of benefits to healthcare professionals, patients and families. These include:

  • Far less invasive diagnostic testing. Manual measurements of facial abnormalities can often be imprecise, and can sometimes be traumatic for young patients.
  • Reducing the number of patient visits required with healthcare professionals, including the need to travel from remote areas to regional hospitals or even the Perth area for diagnosis or treatment.
  • Easy-to-use desktop software that can be integrated with a number of other facial processing and visualisation tools.
  • The creation of new algorithms to better detect and show medical clues in the face (i.e. symmetry and curvature measurements).
  • The ability to track facial changes over time to monitor treatment effectiveness (if applicable).
  • Developing a far greater understanding of face variations within the Aboriginal community (and across other ethnicities) to aid in more efficient and culturally sensitive diagnoses.
  • Extensive research capabilities with continual software improvements.

The Pilbara Faces project has seen a library of more than 500 Aboriginal children’s faces collected from a range of Port Hedland schools and remote communities, with more to come in future. This library is playing a crucial role in assisting in clinical research and treatment monitoring within Aboriginal communities, with so many exciting opportunities ahead.

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