Thursday, 13 September 2018 17:51

Nvidia's Clara smartens up medical instruments

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Nvidia's new Clara platform is aimed at applying the power of AI and modern graphics technologies to medical instruments.

Combining Nvidia's Xavier module with Turing GPUs and a new software development kit, Nvidia Clara is intended as a platform that can take the massive amounts of data generated by medical instruments, such as ultrasound and X-ray machines, visualising it, and potentially recommending actions.

It was first revealed as a development project at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference earlier this year.

"This is a supercomputing problem," said Nvidia vice-president for healthcare, Kimberley Powell. It traditionally requires a combination of CPUs, GPUs and FPGAs, she sad, but Clara does the job with GPUs alone and is scalable from entry-level devices to computationally demanding 3D instruments.

The hardware also supports high-speed I/O for connecting to sensors.

One advantage of Nvidia's approach is that it has the potential to provide a cost-effective way of extending the life of existing instruments by adding software that implements modern techniques.

Early adopters include ImFusion, which is using Clara to create 3D ultrasound images from 2D instruments, and Subtle Medical, which is developing a system that will acquire MRI images with reduced exposure to radiation and lower doses of contrast.

Clara is now at the stage where it is available to early access partners, and a beta release is planned for the second quarter of 2019.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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