How the Brains Behind IoT Is Transforming Healthcare, Sports, and More

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For patients with a collapsed lung, known as pneumothorax, every second counts in the critical moments before they're diagnosed and begin treatment. It's usually first detected by technicians using X-ray, but it can be difficult to spot and is sometimes missed. But now, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) imaging technology developed by GE Healthcare and Intel, the condition can be diagnosed by machines in real time, as the X-ray is being produced. This can reduce a sometimes hours-long process of diagnosis — by the time a radiologist gets to examine the image — to mere seconds. These first-of-their-kind X-ray machines can also send instant alerts to healthcare teams, helping to prioritize these patients for critical care.

Touching nearly every industry today, AI is helping to solve complex problems. In fact, it's one piece of a broader technological movement transforming businesses: the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of smart machines and technology that helps organizations make smarter decisions. IoT is often described as the "body" of the system; smart cameras, sensors, and machines that collect vast amounts of data. AI provides the "brains," turning this information into actionable insights that can improve an organization's performance and productivity — and even save lives.

AI is an umbrella term for a range of computer science approaches that allow machines and computers to sense, reason, and act similar to — or sometimes better than — humans. Machine learning, a subset of AI, is a set of methods that enable computers to learn from data sets to improve performance and make predictions. In the case of the GE Healthcare and Intel X-ray technology, for example, algorithms are fed thousands of X-ray images to learn to detect patterns and diagnose conditions faster and more accurately than humans can.

Flagging Critical Cases to Deliver Better Care

Hospitals produce massive amounts of imaging data each year, flooding radiology departments. The AI-enabled X-ray machines developed by GE Healthcare and Intel enable critical care teams and radiologists to prioritize and streamline patient care. The technology has reduced detection time for some serious medical conditions from eight hours to a few seconds. This solution also can immediately flag critical cases and send them to radiologists for review.

The technology leads to big outcomes by focusing in on the details. For example, the system includes an algorithm that manually rotates X-ray images to achieve proper orientation. By automating this task, the solution saves technicians up to 70,000 button clicks a year, or up to three full working days.

Advancing the Drug Discovery Process

AI image analysis technology is also playing an emerging role in the pharmaceutical industry, helping scientists in early drug discovery. In a partnership with drug maker Novartis, Intel has developed AI technology that accelerates the process of high-content screening (HCS), a technique in which cell models of diseases are exposed to potential drug candidates. Traditionally, scientists take a high-quality microscopic image of each cell model to capture its reaction and then compare the images of the various reactions. But with thousands of images to analyze, scientists are increasingly turning to machine learning tools to speed up processing time. As a first step, these models need to be trained to detect specific features in the images. A machine learning tool developed by Intel and Novartis reduced the time to train image analysis models from 11 hours to 31 minutes, bringing a new level of efficiency to the drug discovery process.

Adding Insight to the Olympic Games

AI and IoT solutions are also expected to transform the viewing experience for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With Intel's new 3D Athlete Tracking Technology (3 DAT), broadcasters will use cameras fitted with AI technology that captures track athlete's biomechanical statistics — such as speed and distance to finish — during sprinting events. The system will then turn this data into on-screen overlays during broadcasts to give viewers real-time insights into the athletes' performance.

Whether its speeding medical diagnoses or enhancing viewers' experiences in the Olympic Games, AI and IoT solutions are unleashing a new era of creative and impactful solutions for business, organizations, and society.

In Sum

  • If the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of sensor-equipped smart machines and technology, is the "body" of the system; artificial intelligence (AI) provides the "brains."
  • AI transforms data generated by smart cameras, machines, and devices into actionable insights that can improve an organization's performance and productivity — and even save lives.

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