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SonoSite and AI2 add AI to ultrasound imaging

Ultrasound imaging
Air Force Staff Sgt. Christine Blanco performs an ultrasound examination on a patient in Afghanistan. (Air Force Photo / Justyn M. Freeman)

A new collaboration between Fujifilm SonoSite and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence aims to use AI to generate better interpretations of ultrasound images, opening the way for new applications and enhanced accuracy.

The collaboration demonstrates how Pacific Northwest connections can pay off: Fujifilm SonoSite, a subsidiary of Japan’s Fujifilm that’s headquartered in Bothell, Wash., reached out to the startup incubator at the Seattle-based institute, known as AI2, for advice on improving their compact ultrasound imaging systems.

“The AI2 Incubator was a perfect place to look for help in creating breakthrough technology,” Rich Fabian, SonoSite’s president and chief operating officer, said in a news release. “They have the type of talent that is hard to recruit, combined with the hunger of a startup. We look forward to collaborating more.”

Ultrasound imaging is significantly more affordable and portable than X-ray imaging, CT scans or PET scans, with none of the downside associated with radiation exposure. “Ultrasound’s comparative disadvantage is its lower image quality, which we aim to address with the use of deep learning,” Vu Ha, technical director at the AI2 Incubator, told GeekWire in an email.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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