In 2016, San Francisco technology startup Aether introduced its extraordinary Aether 1 3D bioprinter, which was touted as being able to do just about everything but make you a sandwich. Beta units of the 3D printer and its upgraded version were later involved in a massive research collaboration, and since the release of the Aether 1, the company has also released a line of bio-inks and opened a new location. But this week, Aether is sharing some news that it calls “surprising and truly historic.”
“It’s great that we can say Aether 1 is the only all-in-one 3D bioprinter with the multi-tool capabilities and automation required for organ printing, but the truth is a big piece was still missing from the puzzle,” said Aether CEO Ryan Franks. “Once we learned AI is the only way bioprinting can reach its full potential, we set out to develop software that would bridge the gap between science-fiction and reality. Aether’s medical imaging AI will be a quantum leap forward, so we can’t wait to get this software out there and experience the impact it has on the medical field.”
Aether will soon launch its latest innovative product – medical imaging software, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which will majorly advance developing of organ 3D printing. The software will help doctors and researchers increase productivity, as well as the impact of their own work, as it makes automatic segmentation of organs and tissues possible.
The company’s new Automatic Segmentation and Reconstruction (ASAR) process rapidly combines an array of AI and image processing techniques with adaptable deep learning models, so users can segment tissues and organs and easily reconstruct them as digital 3D models for analysis and fabrication, among other applications, without the use of calibration or editing tools.
Already, Aether has been successful in accurately segmenting multiple types of organs across various CT scan datasets. The company will expand this new capability across all of the major methods, like angiogram, MRI, and X-ray, for all types of organs and tissues.
Most medical imaging software on the market is confusing, with complex user interfaces. But Aether’s new platform will help users interact with medical images in new ways. Its intuitive AI software will feature a much simpler user interface, giving medical professionals the chance to easily explore 3D visualization and use ASAR to ramp up the speed of medical image batch processing.
As we know, the risk of surgical errors can decrease when surgeons practice procedures ahead of time with realistic 3D printed replicas, as well as provide patients with ease of mind. Thanks to Aether’s inexpensive and easy to use AI-powered 3D bioprinting platform, hospitals can now create exact replicas of their patients’ anatomy with the push of a button in on-site organ fabrication systems. Aether’s hardware, bioinks, new software and ASAR process, and future products will help the medical community reach this goal.
An early beta version of the software will be released soon, but for now, check out Aether’s demonstration video, which displays the ASAR process for lungs with vasculature.
But its new AI-powered medical software isn’t the only announcement Aether is making.
Additionally, the company is collaborating with researchers from the Jang Laboratory at Harvard Medical School (HMS) to develop a totally integrated organ 3D printing system that combines AI, its advanced multi-tool bioprinter, and bioinks.
Principal investigator Dr. Hae Lin Jang, who has conducted research at the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center (BIRC) at nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has joined the soon-to-be-announced researchers on Aether’s Scientific Advisory Board.
“I am excited to participate in the development of an integrated organ printing system, and am looking forward to seeing how a multi-tool bioprinter with AI can enhance our research,” said Dr. Jang. “I believe this is a revolutionary platform, and hope my advisory role will help Aether empower the worldwide research community.”
This is a collaboration in the truest sense of the word – Dr. Jang’s medical research will keep Aether current on the most advanced medical research, and the company notes that she will have access to all of the necessary tools to “continue pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery” through Aether’s technology development. Additionally, the partnership will offer guidance for Aether’s future software projects and feedback for training its AI models.
Dr. Jang will work on 3D printing functional organs out of multiple tissue types with different physiochemical properties, and use bioinks to grow different types of cell tissue. She will first focus on printing the musculoskeletal system, and then move on to other organ types.
Her work will build on Aether’s development of a seamless “Image to Print” process, as it works to print multi-material synthetic organ models from medical images. In addition, Aether will enhance Dr. Jang’s research using the Aether 1’s multi-tool and AI automation capabilities, while it continues to develop new software, bioinks, custom modules, and other future products.
Speaking of future products, Aether is already preparing for another big announcement, so stay tuned.
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