This company wants you to send them pics of your poop, for science
Scientists with Seed Health, a microbial health company, are crowdsourcing photos of people's poop for research purposes, Vice and others report.
The company is reportedly after roughly 100,000 images of poop to aid in their research to help people suffering from chronic gut-related problems.
Seed is a microbial health startup working with Auggi - a "digital gut health coach" - with the ultimate aim of training an artificial intelligence platform to recognise the difference between healthy and unhealthy poop. Developers say the poop image database will be the first of its kind in the world, which is perhaps unsurprising.
The startup hopes to help the estimated one in five people in the United States living with chronic gut conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Remarkably, before launching this data drive for poop pictures, the company was training the app by molding Play-Doh to mimic poop on the Bristol stool chart, which can help doctors identify signs of constipation, diarrhoea and more.
We spent countless hours just making different Play-Doh models,” David Hachuel, co-founder of Auggi, told The Verge, “We actually 3D-printed a toilet just to emulate how that would happen in real life.”
However, this was time-consuming, and so they're now crowdsourcing images of poop, and apparently they've already had a fair amount of success.
Hachuel hopes that the database they're building can help patients take control of their gut health and understand correlations between their lifestyle and symptoms. He told The Verge:
"They struggle every day making decisions on what to eat, how much exercise to do to keep their symptoms at bay.
“And so it’s really critical to build this database and to develop these simple monitoring tools to allow those patients to essentially do that at home.”
The poop pictures are uploaded with anonymity, per Vice, as all metadata will be removed from the images.