Dr. NVIDIA Takes Your X-ray

NVIDIA makes a little data go a long way.

Photo by NVIDIA Taiwan under CC BY 2.0

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NVIDIA is making a little x-ray go a long way. 

The company filed a patent application for “constructing medical images” using machine learning-based techniques. NVIDIA’s tech essentially allows its users to obtain better medical images with less data to assist in a variety of medical contexts.  

The company’s patent is quite complex, but NVIDIA’s system first feeds a “medical item,” (i.e., a medical image), as well as data associated with the “spectral domain” of the item (meaning, what kind of medical imaging it is) to a machine learning model. The output of this model is, in fact, another AI model, which spits out “predicted values,” or predictions for more in-depth data about what exactly is in the image. 

From this, a high-resolution medical image can be created, allowing for a deeper look and better diagnostic insights than what may have been possible with traditional imaging. These improved images could potentially mitigate the need for invasive measures such as biopsies. 

NVIDIA noted the medical images created using this system are “substantially more accurate” than other methods that use little training data. “Producing accurate images from sparsely sampled data is a difficult technical problem that exists in many applications,” NVIDIA said. 

This isn’t the first patent from NVIDIA for medical-related AI tech. The company filed to patent tech that estimates heart rate and respiratory rate using neural networks with higher accuracy and lower latency using facial image and motion data. NVIDIA also has a medical technology business that focuses on things like imaging, biopharma, and genomics, so a patent like this follows suit, especially given its tight grip on the AI industry. 

NVIDIA remains the top dog in AI as developers continue to snatch up its chips and use its data centers. The company’s shares have risen more than 200% so far this year, and after reporting blowout earnings and an optimistic outlook last week, the company hit an intraday record for its share price.  

NVIDIA reported sales of more than $13.5 billion for the quarter, up 101% year over year. The company also said it expects sales in the current quarter to skyrocket a whopping 170% to $16 billion, way above the $12.5 billion expected by Wall Street analysts.

The company’s largest business for the quarter was data centers, which “captures that AI opportunity,” Romeo Alvarez, director and research analyst at William O’Neil, said on Bloomberg News.  “What we’re seeing is very high demand for these AI chips. The company is fully booked in terms of demand until next year. The problem right now isn’t demand for their offerings, but actually the supply.” 

Because of its success in AI chips, the company likely has more leeway than others to experiment broadly with other AI technologies, whether that be chatbots, driverless vehicles, or in this case, medical imaging. In fact, the company’s success in the sector could buoy its other AI ventures – a rising tide does lift all boats, after all.