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BLACK SKIN - Black skin dermatology online: contribution to teledermatology

Research project I2/AE/206 (Research action I2)

Contract I2/AE/206 :

Duration of the contract :


Partners :

  • Université Libre de Bruxelles (Coordinator of the project)
  • Institute for Tropical Medecine 
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles 
  • Universiteit Gent 
  • Universiteit Antwerpen 
  • Centre Hospitalier Régional de Kaolack (Sénégal) 

Description :

The main objective of the Black Skin Dermatology Online project is to establish a multilingual and open experimental web platform which integrates image and voice recognition technologies.
The platform serves as the point of entry to a collaborative environment with high value added for medical research and teaching. Providing more than just a dermatology atlas, the platform’s contents are not rigid; instead, they are fed continuously by assorted contributors via a Web interface. The particularity of the platform lies in the way it offers oral descriptions of clinical cases in order to speed up data capture and processing. The image bank with commentaries that provides the system’s core is surrounded by an array of communication, information, diagnostic-help and teaching services fully accessible via the Internet.

Phase one of the project involves the development of a prototype and the establishment using electronic media of a representative corpus for black skin dermatology. The system’s functions and the technologies it uses will be determined by making allowance in advance for the technical and organisational needs and constraints of the user partners and technology state-of-the-art. The prototype incorporates functions for image acquisition, submission, voice recognition and translation of clinical descriptions as well as validation, security and data-protection aspects.
In terms of the prototype’s technical specifications, particular attention will be paid to:

- developments linked to the Open Archive Initiative, in the case of the communication protocol, and validation and peer-review procedures currently being developed;
- integration of Web-based voice technologies, in the case of capturing descriptive data.

Phase two of the project involves the development of data communications services linked to the image banks on the one hand and prototype evaluation on the other. Implementation of the targeted services involves the integration of various tools for communication (for the forum of experts), for on-line referencing (of the “ask a specialist” variety for remote consultation), for teaching support and for didactic exploitation. The user partners will follow a training course adapted to their working processes prior to commencing the utilisation tests. These will lead on to the platform’s evaluation report. At the same time, the user partners will continue to enhance the bank of images and dermatological diagnostics on black skin. Finally, the project will monitor documentation and technology in order to weigh up possible prototype extensions (diversification of functions, services, target users). An economic model will also be proposed in order to ensure the platform’s financial viability after the project has ended.


- Contact person (project's coordinator):

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) – Département Informatique des Bibliothèques
Benoît Pauwels
Avenue F. Roosevelt 50 – CP 180
1050 Bruxelles
02 650 23 91
02 650 23 91


Coordinator Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) – Département Informatique des Bibliothèques

Partner 1 Institut de Médecine Tropicale Prince Léopold

Partner 2 Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) – Faculté de Médecine

Partner 3 Universiteit Gent (UG)

Partner 4 Universiteit Antwerpen - UIA

Partner 5 Centre Hospitalier Régional de Kaolack

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