On Tuesday, Nvidia and Medtronic announced a collaboration focused on embedding AI into medical devices.
Nvidia, an AI development powerhouse, and Medtronic, a world leader in medical technology, came together because they share a vision of creating a common AI platform for medical devices, said Kimberly Powell, vice president and general manager of healthcare at Nvidia, in a recent interview.
“Every single one of the devices that Medtronic creates has this need for real-time AI,” she said.
The first incarnation of the two companies’ shared vision will be the incorporation of Nvidia’s AI technology into Medtronic’s GI Genius intelligent endoscopy module. GI Genius is the first AI-assisted colonoscopy tool cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to help physicians detect polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer.
Medtronic intends to integrate Nvidia Holoscan, a real-time AI computing software platform for building medical devices, as well as Nvidia IGX, an edge AI hardware platform, into its GI Genius colonoscopy system. Embedding these technologies into GI Genius will give doctors “AI-enhanced” diagnostic images that can help them detect polyps earlier so that patients can start cancer treatment sooner.
“Imaging is one of the most powerful tools that you can have to diagnose early-stage diseases. And that’s why we believe artificial intelligence plays such a big role in helping our customers detect the undetectable,” said Giovanni Di Napoli, president of Medtronic’s gastrointestinal division.
The first GI Genius systems built with the Nvidia technology should be available by the end of the year, he declared.
In the future, the partners also hope that Nvidia’s technology can help develop algorithms for real-time medical procedures. GI Genius was designed to host an array of algorithms, and integrating Nvidia’s healthcare AI platform could allow Medtronic to increase its development of algorithms for such procedures.
As part of their collaboration, the two companies plan to create a medical device marketplace for AI applications. The marketplace, which will run on Nvidia technology, will allow developers and clinicians to develop their own algorithms to use on Medtronic’s medical devices.
When a developer creates a healthcare algorithm, the new algorithm typically must undergo an extensive FDA review. But Medtronic will be able to help some developers with that process, Powell said.
“This is a model I think is really great for the industry because it’s not easy for an AI developer with a single application to bring it to market. But when you have a world leader like Medtronic, who understands how to do the clinical trials and do the FDA submissions and actually bring the application to market, that’s when you have that three-way triangle of technology developer and medical device leader to really accelerate the pace of innovation,” she declared.
Once the marketplace is erected, Nvidia and Medtronic hope that millions of developers will use it. More and more healthcare technology companies are exploring the use of real-time AI because of its ability to help inform decisions at the point of care, Powell pointed out.
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