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Research team develops an AI cranial implant design tool


Singular Health has been awarded funding from the CSIRO Kick-Start program to undertake a collaborative research project focused on developing an AI-based tool to automatically design replacement cranial implants. 

The AI will be integrated into Singular Health’s Surgical Planning software for editing and review before the cranial implants are 3D printed. The tool will be validated by Osteopore, comparing the existing cranial implant design process with the new design process in a clinical environment. 

“This is a great example of how we can apply AI to advance the technology behind crucial medical procedures,” CSIRO’s Data61 research lead Dr Dadong Wang said. 

“This tool uses artificial intelligence to analyse the unique shape of a patient’s cranium from CT scans, enabling the creation of patient-specific cranial implant model for 3D printing.” 

Singular Health is committed to delivering better health outcomes through patient-specific surgical guides and implants. Scan to Surgery combines artificial intelligence, virtual surgical planning (VSP) and medical 3D printing for an end-to-end surgical solution. 

“This project marks an exciting step for Singular Health as it highlights our expertise in artificial intelligence in the design of patient specific implants,” Singular Health managing director Thomas Hanly said. 

“Too often, advances in medical technology are made without the input of peers to focus on commercial priorities. Working with Osteopore ensures our work and results will be objectively compared with existing techniques and paves the way for future collaborations and commercialisation opportunities.” 

This project follows Singular Health’s successful first Kick-Start collaboration with CSIRO, which developed a spinal segmentation model with over 95 per cent accuracy. It will see Singular Health’s technical team collaborate with CSIRO to integrate the model into the 3Dicom Virtual Surgical Planning software. 

Singular Health will use the 3Dicom Virtual Surgical Planning software to develop, trial and commercialise the fully automated Cranial Implant Tool. They will contribute their software development expertise for the AI, segmentation and volume rendering, and provide an initial training dataset for the AI algorithm. 

Osteopore are targeting an estimated 1.1 million cranial procedures per annum, globally. Their bioresorbable 3D printed lattice not only uses 3D printing to generate the complex shapes required, but also enables regenerative bone growth. 

“As a leader in regenerative medicine, Osteopore collaborates with a range of technologies that improve the efficacy of our regenerative implants,” Osteopore chief executive officer Khoon Seng Goh said. 

“This win-win formula brings future technologies to commercialisation faster so that surgeons have new solutions for their treatment strategy, and patients can be treated early to make the most of their body’s healing capacity.” 

The project was made possible through CSIRO Kick-Start, an initiative that provides funding and support for innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities. 

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