Canadian startup WaveBase building bridges between AI and Ultrasound
Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Ontario Mar 8, 2021 (Issuewire.com) – WaveBase Inc., a Kitchener, Ontario tech company has successfully tested a device that connects artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms with existing ultrasound devices. The Canadian firm’s patent-pending technology solves problems for both hospitals and AI companies as it allows rapid testing and deployment of AI algorithms to ultrasound machines for use at the bedside.
Ultrasounds have been getting smaller, cheaper, and more readily available, which is particularly useful in low resource settings. Ultrasound has also been critical in the assessment of lung health during the current COVID-19 pandemic for many doctors around the world in the ER and the ICU. Thanks to its benefits of zero radiation, portability, lower cost, and simplified decontamination procedures it has been an invaluable tool for efficient monitoring and assessment of disease progression.
“The timing is right for this technology. The use of POCUS (point-of-care ultrasound) is rapidly expanding amongst new users and innovative applications are being added. Having the option to obtain a quick second opinion will raise the comfort level and confidence of new and current users and will enable broader adoption of POCUS. This will empower healthcare professionals to learn, diagnose, and treat patients efficiently while helping to lower healthcare costs and save lives,” Dr. Victor Rao, Global Clinical Content Manager, and POCUS Certification Academy Educator at Inteleos said.
However, developers have been facing a major hurdle in getting AI for a point-of-care ultrasound to market. The ultrasound device market is heavily-fractured, as there are more than 12 major manufacturers competing fiercely, with the largest having less than 24% market share. Most manufacturers are only willing to partner with third-party A.I. companies in exclusive arrangements and then only for their newest devices. This approach massively reduces the potential impact of the AI partnership.
“We ran into this problem first-hand when looking to distribute our arterial and lung AI tools. We decided as a team that if we were having this problem, other AI companies were too. So we switched gears and began building a bridge] that enables functionality and AI equivalency across platforms,” WaveBase CEO Peter Holmes said. Demonstrating a promising ultrasound technology for promoting the use of low-cost, low-risk imaging, WaveBase is a shining example of the high-value MedTech innovations produced in the Waterloo Region. With the support of Waterloo MedTech, Velocity, and Communitech, WaveBase has been able to connect with valuable industry expertise, access funding opportunities, and navigate from early concept design to successful integration into a clinical setting.