By way of introduction, Vision Elements provides customized research and algorithm development services for Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence (AI) through high-end machine and deep learning techniques, focusing on the proof of concept (POC) stage. Our clients come from a wide range of sectors, both public and private, including medical imaging, homeland security, satellite and aerial imaging, consumer, industrial inspection and more.
In software development ‘proof of concept’ is almost always executed to establish whether a system satisfies some aspect of the purpose it was designed for. As part of this process, a prototype is developed to seek funding or to demonstrate to prospective partners and customers.
The key benefits of the proof of concept in software development are:
- The possibility to choose the best technology stack for the software.
- A higher probability of investors’ interest in the future software product.
- The ability to simplify and improve the ease of testing and validating ideas for the software’s functionality.
- Receiving valuable feedback of a target audience (users) even before building a full-scope system.
- Onboarding first clients before an official software release.
- Demonstrating that a given configuration can achieve a certain throughput.
A pilot project refers to an initial roll-out of a system into production, targeting a limited scope of the intended final solution. The scope may be limited by the number of users who can access the system, the business processes affected, the business partners involved, or other restrictions as appropriate to the domain. The purpose of a pilot project is to test, often in a production environment.
Vision Elements helped dozens of companies, large and small, to successfully complete the POC process cost effectively and in a timely manner by implementing some of the Lean Startup principals.
The Lean Startup provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups and get a desired product to customers’ hands faster. The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development. The main ingredients of the Lean Startup methodology include eliminating uncertainty, working smarter not harder, developing an MVP (minimum viable product), validated learning, and measuring progress.
By implementing the Lean Startup methodology during the POC process Vision Elements helped our customers to meet budget constraints by answering basic questions sooner rather later, including (but not limited to):
- Should this product be developed at all?
- Can we develop it? do we have the right resources and capabilities?
- Can we compete successfully in the marketplace?
- Can we turn this prototype into a scalable product and profitable business?
- What features will be required initially by the initial buyers?
- How can we create an organizational memory to maximize learning and streamline the organization?
The following section articulates two case studies:
Cathworks was founded in 2013 to develop an intra-procedural, image-based device, deriving physiology information for real-time decision making in interventional cardiology. It is a late-stage startup, selling to catheterization laboratories in the US, EU, and Japan.
When a patient comes in to the Cathworks lab for a minimally invasive diagnosis and potential treatment, 2D x-ray videos demonstrate the anatomical status of the coronary arteries, supplying oxygen to the heart. A narrowing in the 2-3 mm vessels may obstruct the flow of blood. To rate each narrowing based on its actual obstruction to blood flow, an analysis of flow resistance is required.
The Cathworks algorithm is a unique breakthrough. It takes several 2D videos and generates a 3D physiology model, providing a wholistic perspective on the severity of disease in the coronary arteries. It combines state-of-the-art temporal 2D deep learning algorithms with highly challenged 3D reconstruction methods. Flow resistance simulation, running in seconds, has been validated on thousands of live cases.
The core algorithms have been completely developed by Vision Elements – from sketches to operational code. Vision Elements contributed to the drafting of many of the patents in the Cathworks portfolio. Over the years, Cathworks benefited from the flexibility that is needed in a long-term, research-savvy project, while getting the most cutting-edge algorithms to enable its flagship product.
UC-Care is operating in the prostate biopsy space. It developed an intra-procedural device that turns 2D ultrasound slices into a 3D map of the prostate, enabling improved navigation. Fusion with pre-op MRI scans enhances the information needed for a guided biopsy.
Vision Elements developed UC-Care’s core algorithms from its exceedingly early days, and up to a released and cleared product. Code included model-based and free-form surfacing of the prostate, differential correction of patient movement during the procedure through a 6 degrees-of-freedom sensor attached to the back of the patient. Fusion algorithms allow for non-rigid registration between the modalities, compensating for shape deformations that often occur during the biopsy.
UC-care is a sales stage company. Strong collaboration with Vision Elements started early in the proof-of-concept stage. Algorithms have been optimized for product level and FDA clearance. Vision Elements worked closely with UC-Care through the ongoing development of new features and late releases.
To summarize, here are the main reasons why Vision Elements can help you complete the POC process cost effectively and in a timely manner:
- Easy to implement retainer model where you decide how long and how many resources you wish to allocate for each project.
- Flexibility to expedite or slowdown the product development process, adding or reducing development resources based on budget availability and KPIs.
- Quick ramp-up time with minimal onboarding.
- The Team approach where all our experts and data scientists are involved in every project as the need may be.
- Service orientation where we become part of your development team. All the IP that we develop belongs to you, and we can also help writing additional patents on your behalf.
And finally, here are a few links that provide additional information about the company, capabilities, and projects:
- Company intro video: https://vimeo.com/317053548
- Projects: https://www.vision-elements.com/projects/