Advantech, Intel, and Heroic-Faith Join Hands to Improve Medical Care with AI
Heroic-Faith Medical Science joined forces with Advantech and Intel to launch an AI-based continuous lung sound sensor monitoring system. The system allows nurses to track the respiratory conditions of numerous patients on their ward in real time from a nursing station, greatly improving care efficiency.
Interview with Dr. Fushun Hsu, founder, Heroic-Faith; Mr. Yuan-Ren Cheng, co-founder of Heroic-Faith
During a particularly severe period of the COVID-19 epidemic in April 2020, medical staff at the intensive care unit of Wuhan No.9 Hospital in China wore full isolation gowns to treat patients and record their vital signs. They did this without the need to remove their headgear or use stethoscopes to record patients’ respiratory conditions. They were able to do so because of an AI-based continuous lung sound monitoring system developed by Heroic-Faith Medical Science. Clinicians could listen to the patient breathing through a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) capacitive microphone patch without taking off their isolation gowns, significantly reducing the risk of cross-infection.
Breakthrough in respiratory monitoring and treatment
monitoring system is also suitable for non-intubated
anesthesia, cardiopulmonary surgery, and long-term
monitoring in intensive care units,” explained Dr.
Fushun Hsu, founder of Heroic-Faith Medical Science.
Respiratory parameters including respiratory rates and
abnormal adventitious lung sounds are very important
indicators in the clinical care of critically ill patients, but
there was no instrument that could continuously monitor
such parameters. The lack of data and the inability to
monitor conditions remotely for extended periods of time
contributed to unsatisfactory levels of treatment.
Heroic-Faith therefore implemented their AI-based
continuous lung sound monitoring system to replace the
traditional stethoscope with thin auscultation patches.
The system continuously records respiratory parameters
simply by attaching the patches to the patient.
Moreover, AI algorithms help identify the patient’s
conditions and results are simultaneously fed into a
mobile device, such as Advantech’s 8-inch medical tablet
AIM-75H, then turned into spectrogram, which can also
be played through the device’s loudspeaker. By using
visual and sound aids for diagnosis, it is much easier
for clinicians to identify abnormal sounds and quickly
intervene when necessary.
In addition to bedside monitoring and care, Heroic Faith also integrated Advantech’s USM-500 Medical Grade Edge Server, VEGA-340 Edge AI Acceleration Module, and Intel’s OpenVINO™ toolkit to develop a
central monitoring system that can simultaneously collect
and aggregate respiratory parameters of every patient in
the ward. Nurses can see the respiratory conditions of 24
patients in the ward at the same time from the nursing
station. This reduces their workload and bolsters the
overall quality of medical services.
Finding the right balance between computing performance and cost
“In the process of developing the central monitoring
system, Heroic-Faith struggled to find the right balance
between computing performance and cost. Not until the
deployment of an integrated solution from Advantech and
Intel was the issue finally resolved,” said Mr. Yuan-Ren
Cheng, co-founder of Heroic-Faith. Heroic-Faith originally
used a high-end GPU to improve computing performance
in the early stage of product development and retro-fitted
commercial mobile phones for displaying spectrograms.
Although this system architecture could be applied to
bedside care, it brought up two major problems when undergoing further development. First, as the amount of
monitoring data increased, the computing performance
of the GPU required by the system increased, resulting
in a substantial increase in cost. Second, the system
resources of commercial mobile phones are limited, and a
mobile phone can only monitor one channel, which makes
it impossible to achieve the goal of central monitoring.
To tackle these problems, Heroic-Faith converted the
system to the Intel OpenVINO™ architecture and utilized
CPU optimization to meet computing performance
requirements. It also actively sought suitable hardware
solutions. After careful consideration of industry
reputation, customization capabilities, and product
reliability, it chose Advantech’s USM-500 and VEGA-340
to create a total solution.
Mr. Cheng emphasized that Heroic-Faith specializes
in AI algorithms and is not familiar with hardware
design details, such as power supply and medical
certifications. “Advantech USM-500 has passed IEC60601-1-2 medical certification and offers tremendous
benefits when combined with VEGA-340, which is
equipped with 8x Intel® Movidius™ Myriad™ X VPUs
(vision processing unit) that can handle the respiratory sensors from four channels and provides processing
performance of 0.7 pictures per second per core, a total
of 8 cores in one AI card. Compared with the original
system architecture that used mobile phones to process
pictures, the computational performance nearly doubled.
The combination of USM-500 and VEGA-340 completely
solved Heroic-Faith’s hardware problems. Moreover,
Advantech’s solution is fully tested and compatible. In
addition to the product itself, it boasts a dedicated cradle,
a power supply system, and several USB slots to fully
satisfy customer needs.
Most importantly, Advantech respects each customers’
opinions. Whenever Heroic-Faith put forward a request,
Advantech listened carefully and responded quickly. For
instance, it adopted Heroic-Faith’s suggestion to adjust
the product cradle so that it can be locked in place. In
the future, Heroic-Faith hopes to work more closely
with Advantech and Intel in areas ranging from product
development to marketing and promote its AI-based
continuous lung sound monitoring system in even more
markets. The goal is for technology to reduce the burden
on medical care personnel and provide the public with a
higher quality of medical services.