Sensors, Vision

Medical industry leveraging embedded vision technologies

The medical industry is leveraging embedded vision technologies, but there are challenges surrounding the cost and the customization required for a new product.
By AIA March 4, 2019
Courtesy: CFE Media

The medical industry is a key market for the growth of embedded vision technology – it’s growing quickly, and innovative new players are adopting the latest technology at a rapid rate. An aging population and skyrocketing demand for services only promotes further growth in the medical industry, making it the ideal marketplace for radical new embedded vision products.

There have been, however, dilemmas in developing new embedded vision-based medical and life science products. Many of the concerns are on the cost and level of customization required in a new product.

One of the primary challenges to developing new medical devices with embedded vision systems is balancing the production costs with imaging optimization. Whether the end product is for one application or many makes a major difference in how integrators must approach an embedded vision system design.

For application-specific systems, for example, the cost of components doesn’t matter as much. But for other applications, particularly mass-market products with more limited power and space constraints, there are pressing considerations in terms of the costs and development time for miniaturization, embedded development, and debugging.

Essentially, the difficulty in embedded vision systems development lies in managing tradeoffs in cost and performance. While this is a challenge for many, there are several examples of highly profitable and productive medical devices leveraging embedded vision.

Medical devices leveraging embedded vision

One of the most successful applications of embedded vision in the medical field is occurring in microscopy, particularly for in-vitro fertilization. Ultra-high resolution embedded vision systems offer more accurate data on embryo growth, beyond what was previously available on the market, to help increase the chances of fertility.

Another embedded vision application gaining popularity in the medical industry is for portable blood analysis. With advanced vision and image processing technology, blood analysis can be performed with a handheld device, to a high degree of accuracy, outside of the hospital setting.

As the medical industry grows and investment in new technology increases, embedded vision will play an increasingly important role. Despite the hurdles integrators may face when developing new medical products, innovative new products are emerging all the time.

The medical industry is ripe for disruption. Ample opportunity awaits embedded vision integrators and suppliers who can balance cost and performance to create commercially viable products.

This article originally appeared in Vision Online. AIA is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

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