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"Have you ever looked at stool images and lost your appetite?

Well, we looked through 1,610 stool images, including some with blood, over nine months in 2020 to build a dataset for our research project - "Stool Recognition for Colorectal Cancer Detection through Deep Learning" under the Research@YDSP (Young Defence Scientists Programme) by DSO National Laboratories - all of this as our way to fight colorectal cancer.

This project was inspired by Glenda's grandfather, who was diagnosed with early-stage colorectal cancer after noticing blood in his stool. We developed a deep learning model to help people detect blood in their stool (a colorectal cancer symptom) so they can seek treatment early and have higher chances of survival.

We started by attending online courses and reading research papers on deep learning. Whenever we got lost amidst difficult theories, our mentors quickly guided us to the right path.

In mid-December 2020, we finally collected sufficient stool images to develop our model. After fine-tuning to achieve a high level of accuracy, we deployed it to a mobile application "Poolice", which we developed for users to detect blood in their stool.

We decided to share our project with more people at the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) 2021 to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. Through the preparation for SSEF, we learnt how to organise our research findings in the best possible way for the general public to be able to understand our project better. During the online SSEF, we were able to share our app with more people, and our project was awarded the Gold award, and the SUTD R&I Award for Healthcare.

We are grateful to be given the opportunity to represent Singapore at the Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl 2021, organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. After improving based on feedback we received from SSEF, we hope to do Singapore proud at this upcoming event.

Thankfully, the remote nature of our project allowed us to continue despite the COVID-19 situation. We are grateful to DSO and our teacher-mentor, Mr De Souza, for being supportive throughout this period.

Although we faced many challenges that tested our mettle, we learnt to overcome them with creative solutions, such as asking our relatives/friends to contribute photographs of their stool to enlarge our insufficient database. Thank you to all who have helped us in our research journey!"

- Glenda Tan Hui En and Goh Xin Ru Karin (Class of 2020)

With mentor Dr Shen.jpgAt DSO with our research mentor, Dr Shen!
Picture 2.pngPresenting our project!
Team Photo.jpgTeam photo of us: (from left) Glenda and Karin.