Commercial Asensus and Nvidia collaborate on digital surgical AI

Asensus and Nvidia collaborate on digital surgical AI


Asensus Surgical, a player in the surgical commercial sector, is embarking on a collaboration with Nvidia, aimed at enhancing its real-time vision capabilities.The core of Asensus’ innovation lies in its laparoscopic Senhance system, accompanied by the Intelligent Surgical Unit (ISU). This dynamic duo not only digitally highlights critical aspects of a patient’s anatomy but also autonomously controls the surgeon’s camera. 

It is worth noting that the foundation of this advanced technology was laid using Nvidia computing hardware, which powered its machine-vision-based software. Now, Asensus has ambitious plans to leverage Nvidia’s diverse range of applications to augment the ISU’s capabilities even further. Simultaneously, the company is diligently working on expanding its portfolio of robotic solutions, with the forthcoming next-generation platform known as Luna.

The collaboration between Asensus and Nvidia extends beyond just enhancing the existing technology. Both companies are keen on exploring broader commercial opportunities within the AI-driven surgical solutions domain. David Niewolny, Nvidia’s Director of Healthcare Business Development, recognizes the increasing importance of data in healthcare, particularly in the realm of digital surgery. He highlights Nvidia’s specialized edge AI computing platform, Holoscan, designed to assist medtech innovators in optimizing real-time data and image processing, thus aiding in complex problem-solving and improving surgeon decision-making.

Niewolny further emphasizes the potential synergy between Asensus’s FDA-cleared ISU and Nvidia’s software-defined architecture. This collaboration has the potential to accelerate innovation, making it possible to deliver new products to surgeons more swiftly through software-as-a-medical-device applications.

Asensus is also gearing up for its Luna system, which will be powered by the ISU. Luna seeks to expand upon the achievements of the minimally invasive Senhance platform, which has already secured regulatory clearance for general surgical procedures. Senhance’s AI functionalities include functions such as zooming, panning, 3D measurement, and automatic enhancements of image brightness and contrast.

Anthony Fernando, President and CEO of Asensus, acknowledges the pivotal role played by Nvidia’s advanced technologies in enhancing the ISU’s augmented intelligence capabilities. This partnership is set to pave the way for innovative clinical applications.

As per Asensus’s financial report, the Luna system is progressing well and is expected to conclude its preclinical testing by year-end. The company plans to wrap up the system’s design in early 2024, submit 510(k) applications to the FDA by the end of the subsequent year, and initiate a commercial pilot program in the latter part of 2025.

In the second-quarter earnings report, the company reported an impressive 27% year-over-year growth in Senhance surgical procedures. However, despite reporting $1.1 million in quarterly revenue, operating expenses amounted to $18.9 million, leaving cash and cash equivalents at $40 million. Asensus plans to deploy 10 to 12 new Senhance systems in operating suites by year-end, building upon the two systems already placed in Japan and the U.S. during the first half of the year.

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