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Acer announces software to diagnose eye condition

PC brand Acer Inc (宏碁) yesterday rolled out artificial intelligence (AI) software for diagnosing diabetic retinopathy in collaboration with National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) and Novartis (Taiwan) Co (台灣諾華), the first “smart” ophthalmology equipment approved by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The software was created by training AI learning models with 50,000 retinal images sourced from databases abroad.

The models were adjusted by using the records of almost 100,000 patients and diagnoses from NTUH.

Acer Inc chairman and chief executive officer Jason Chen, second left, Acer founder Stan Shih, center, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Wu Shou-mei, right, and others pose for a photograph at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

“The rate of correct diagnosis by the AI software is approaching that of a trained ophthalmologist,” NTUH ophthalmologist Hsieh Yi-ting (謝易庭) told a news conference in Taipei.

“We hope that by using it in the clinical environment, more patients can be diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy early,” Hsieh said.

Acer’s nonconsumer PC businesses, such as AI, would have an outsized impact on its bottom line, Acer founder Stan Shih (施振榮) said.

“We see [nonconsumer PC business] reaching about one-third of Acer’s revenue eventually,” Shih told reporters.

“The contribution to gross margin might be close to half,” he said.

The domestic market is a training ground for new products such as the AI diagnostic software, but the ultimate goal is the export market, he said.

“Right now these new business areas are still developing. It is like an airplane on the runway — it is only when we become international that we have achieved take-off,” he said.

FDA Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) told the news conference that the cooperation between Acer, Novartis and NTUH is a milestone.

“It is a case of successful cross-industry collaboration,” Wu said.

Reference from Taipei Times

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