Top five innovative Taiwan advanced medical imaging devices

ITRI and its partners in the industry showcase the nation's top medical imaging devices

  436
 iXensor Pixo Test Glucose (right) and portable ovulation testing device (left).

iXensor Pixo Test Glucose (right) and portable ovulation testing device (left). (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Taiwanese manufacturers and partners of the nation’s top research center Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) displayed more than 18 innovative sophisticated medical imaging devices at a press conference held at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) in Taipei, Tuesday.

Among the numerous innovative medical image equipment, below are a couple of highlighted products:

Taiwan MIRDC displays a dental model made from images from its blue laser oral scanning technology at its booth at MOEA's headquarters. (All photos courtesy of Taiwan News)

  1. World’s first blue laser oral scanning technology

Taiwan’s Metal Industries Research and Development Center (MIRDC) unveiled the world’s first blue laser line intra-oral scanning technology that combines digital and computer programs to develop a triangular measuring method to focus a laser light source into high coherence onto an object it is detecting.

Using active triangulation methods, the device is able to accurately construct the teeth model and make more precise measurements within an area of 22 x 18 mm, which reduces the margin of error.

“The new technology can cut the time spent making teeth molds from one day to just four minutes,” said a representative from MIRDC.

The 3D teeth scan aimed to replace traditional dental plaster molds can use traditional molding methods, 3D printing, or laser etching technologies, which greatly saves time dental technicians spend on making fake teeth and other teeth molds, he added.

The non-profit organization has transferred the blue laser line intra-oral technology value nearing NT$22 million (US$720,000) to several Taiwanese companies including EPED(醫百科技), APIX CNC (亞力士電腦機械), Gillion Technology (鉅侖科技), and AIN TEC Industrial (建興安泰).

3D image of a person's teeth using Taiwan’s MIRDC blue laser line intra-oral scanning device.

The blue laser line intra-oral scanning technology attracted nearly NT$70.61 million in investments and generated nearly NT$200 million in market value, stated the MOEA.

The technology is currently at the clinical trial stage, and MIRDC hopes its commercial partners can complete the trial within six months and launch the product onto the market by this year.

Similar teeth scanning devices made in Germany, Denmark and the U.S. cost nearly NT$1.2 million-1.6 million, but MIRDC’s partners hope to sell the commercialized product that uses mostly Taiwanese electronic components at US$30,000 to hospitals and dental clinics.

Wen-Yih Tseng (曾文毅), a professor at the Institute of Medical Device and Imaging at NTU.

2) Brain connection diffusion MRI scanning system

National Taiwan University (NTU) teamed up with the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) to develop a non-invasive scanning technology to better understand cognitive brain diseases and other systems, a technology which is four times more effective than those already on the market.

“Psychosis, Alzheimer's and other mental disorders cannot be detected with modern technology,” said Wen-Yih Tseng (曾文毅), a professor at the Institute of Medical Device and Imaging at NTU.

Usually, it is only through psychotherapy and counseling that psychological disorders are identified, but more studies are supporting evidence that anomalies in brain connections can cause certain psychological disorders that are detectable via MRI imaging, he explained.

The new diffusion MRI image technology they developed for three years and completed in 2015 has a high accuracy rate of 85 percent in detecting schizophrenia in patients.

The team is still applying for approval from the FDA in the U.S. and aims to commercialize the product within five years.

An ultrasound image of a thyroid using AmCad Biomed Corp's device AmCAD-UT.

3) Non-invasive thyroid tumor detection imaging device

With the support of MOEA, NTUH and AmCad BioMed Corporation (安克生醫股份有限公司) developed a non-invasive thyroid imaging device AmCad-UT that succeeded in acquiring TFDA, U.S. FDA, and CE Mark approval.

Previously, most thyroid ultrasound imaging devices were only available in black and white, but the new device offers images in color.

The device is capable of greatly raising the accuracy of thyroid imaging resolution, and reduces the need for doctors to administer painful tissue sample tests that usually requires the injection of a long needle into the thyroid region of the patient’s throat to draw thyroid tissue for lab analysis.

AmCad-UT is already used by NTUH, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, McKay Hospital in Hsinchu County and Lianan Wellness Center in Taiwan.

International markets where the device is already being authorized for distribution include nearly 10 countries, such as Russia, India, and countries in Europe and the Middle East.

“We found a Chinese distributor in 2016, and he is currently working on acquiring China’s FDA approval to launch our product there,” said AmCad BioMed Vice President Jack Yang (楊竣翔).

iXensor portable medical imaging device that can be paired with smartphone apps to test women's ovulation cycles.

4) Smart portable health monitoring devices

Not all advanced medical imaging devices are for medical professionals, iXensor showcased several of its portable health monitoring devices, including blood sugar monitoring devices for average consumers.

Founded in 2012, the company’s medical imaging technology is largely based on their patented PixoTest imaging technology coded into their in-built apps that can be installed onto the average smartphone to monitor ovulation cycles, blood sugar levels, and conduct rapid tests of transmittable diseases, such as zika and dengue.

The Pixo Test Glucose device for diabetes to monitor their daily blood sugar levels was approved by German research organization The Institute for Diabetes-Technology (IDT) for having a 98.5 percent accuracy in analyzing blood sugar levels, said Nina Wang, Market Specialist at iXensor.

The disposable test strip with integrated lancet for diabetes to monitor blood sugar levels costs around US$1 per test, and uses colormetrics to analyze data collected from drawn blood, she explained.

The Pixo Test Glucose device was featured at the International Conference on Advanced Technologies for Treating Diabetes (ATTD) that took place from Feb.15-17 in Paris this year.

iXensor's portable device acquired Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration certification, and CE Mark in Europe, while its ovulation device is still awaiting for approval from the U.S. FDA.

A crowdfunding campaign to fund their latest smart ovulation device that will be temporarily be priced at US$4 per test will be launched on Indiegogo starting on April 26, 2017.

As for targeted markets for entry, the company is evaluating the U.S, Europe and Middle East.

5) ITRI’s handheld optical skin condition detection device

ITRI developed a portable Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which is lightweight and uses a low coherence light source to detect people's skin condition, and analyzing collagen levels in the skin.

The device analyzes the users' skin condition and can be customized to meet beauty clinics demands. ITRI is in talks with interested companies about technology transfers.

The device attracted several people at the event to try it out and check their skin condition.