When NYU's doctors had an idea to speed up the process of MRI scans, they thought of one technology company to help them out: Facebook.
Yes, that Facebook. The social networking company.
The two institutions announced this week that they're working together on a research project that aims to make MRI imaging scans up to 10 times faster. Today, it takes about 15 minutes to an hour to take an MRI, while X-rays or CT scans take less than a minute.
To solve this problem, computer engineers at Facebook plan to use neural networks, a computing methodology inspired by the way neurons work together in the human brain, to recognize the structure of the imaging and automatically fill in views that were previously omitted in order to speed up the scan. That all needs to be done while maintaining accuracy, as a mistake could be potentially fatal for patients.
"A few missing or incorrectly modeled pixels could mean the difference between an all -clear scan and one in which radiologists find a torn ligament or a possible tumor," a blog post reads.
It's an ambitious effort that could have a huge payoff on both sides, while reducing medical costs and improving the patient experience. A win-win.
But why Facebook?