Cambridge Consultants and Neuro Engineering Technologies Research Institute (NETRI) announce a breakthrough in precision imaging of brain activity. Working with NETRI’s brain-on-a-chip technology and lensless imaging approach that detects the activity of neurons in brain tissue, Cambridge Consultants was able to accelerate the processing of individual images by over three orders of magnitude, moving from about 20 minutes to process an image to just hundreds of milliseconds. This step-change in speed opens up radical new possibilities, including real-time processing of neural activity and mimicking of neural activity on engineered platforms, supporting the development of novel treatments for conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

We design disruptive technology to revolutionize diagnosis and treatment

Organ-on-a-chip is an emerging and highly promising area of biomedical research. The technology involves the ex-vivo (outside of the body) simulation of organ function on a chip. The ultimate promise of such technologies is to greatly reduce the time and cost of testing new therapies for safety and efficacy. Brain-on-a-chip technologies seek to apply this approach to the neural circuitry of the brain, the most complex organ in the human body.

French startup NETRI creates disruptive technologies for brain-on-a-chip applications in neuroscience. Its focus is on ex-vivo replication of human neural circuits in order to understand how neurological disorders, treatments and chemicals affect the brain. NETRI uses a combination of brain-on-a-chip technology and lensless microscopy to record the activity of millions of connected neurons, mimicking the neural circuits implicated in neurological disorders.

However, by detecting something as complex as neural activity, the approach generates an enormous amount of data, requiring many hours of computation effort in order to fully reconstruct the spatio-temporal map of neuron communication. The imaging system runs at approximately 1,000 frames per second, and the baseline algorithm took an average of 1,090 seconds – 18 minutes – to process a single image on a powerful desktop PC. Without improvement, a single second of recording can take 12 days to process.

Recognizing its world-class expertise in medical imaging and high-performance computation, NETRI approached Cambridge Consultants to address this bottleneck, challenging the company to develop a radical algorithm acceleration. A scientific imaging team was set to work within the company’s Data Lab, an on-site facility with state-of-the-art compute infrastructure, allowing rapid exploration of data and compute-heavy approaches, such as high-definition imaging and deep learning.

Cambridge Consultants selected the NVIDIA DGX POD architecture for their AI infrastructure, deploying the NetApp ONTAP AI solution that combines NVIDIA DGX-1™ with NetApp ONTAP storage and network fabric. Through a series of optimizations, the team was able to show that the NVIDIA DGX-1 system delivers the AI supercomputing power required to process a frame in an average of 0.3 seconds, around 3,000 times quicker than the original approach. This acceleration was achieved through a series of optimizations including the design and application of mathematical and algorithmic improvements, leveraging NumPY GPU-accelerated with RAPIDS (CuPy), and exploiting the sheer power of the DGX-1 system. The combined result enables NETRI to completely reimagine their approach and to set their sights on the most radical possibilities, including developing a fully scalable and real-time medical service for hospitals and pharmaceutical industries to perform both in-vitro diagnostics and personalized treatment for every patient suffering from a neurological condition.

Sally Epstein, Head of Strategic Technology at Cambridge Consultants, commented: “Lensless imaging replaces traditional optics with computation, creating a new set of optimization challenges that our team was excited to address. We’re proud to be at the leading-edge of developments in brain-on-a-chip technology and neural imaging, at the point where radical improvements can be unlocked by those with the right combination of vision, experience and compute power.”

Thibault Honegger, Chief Scientific Officer, President & Co-founder of NETRI, commented: “By combining the expertise of Cambridge Consultants with NVIDIA-based computational power, the real-time processing of neural communications becomes possible. This can mark a paradigm shift in assessing the functional aspects of in-vitro neural networks. With this level of resolution, we will be able to accurately measure the “wellness” of the network, in relation to neurological conditions and potential recovery.”

Notes to editors

Cambridge Consultants (剑桥顾问公司)开发突破性产品,产生和授权知识产权,并为全球的客户提供商业资讯,解决与技术相关的关键问题。60多年来,公司一直致力于帮助客户转化商业机会,包括推出市场领先的产品,进入新市场,引入新技术扩大现有市场。公司拥有超过900名员工,包括工程师、科学家、数学家和设计师,遍布于英国剑桥、美国波士顿、东京和新加坡办事处,为医疗和生命科学、工业和能源、消费和零售以及通讯和基础设施等多个行业提供解决方案。欲了解更多信息,请访问:

Cambridge Consultants是 Capgemini Invent (凯捷集团的创新、咨询和转型品牌)的子公司。Capgemini Invent帮助管理者设想和构建他们组织的未来。公司在全球设有30多个办事处和25个创意工作室,是一支拥有7000多名员工的强大团队,将战略、技术、数据科学和创意设计与深厚的行业专业知识和洞察力相结合,开发新的数字解决方案和未来的商业模式。

凯捷集团是通过技术来为客户改造和管理业务的全球领导者,而Capgemini Invent是凯捷集团不可或缺的一部分。集团的宗旨是通过技术释放人类的潜能,实现包容性和可持续的未来。它是一个及负社会责任的多元化组织,在近50个国家拥有27万名团队成员。凭借其50年的悠久历史和深厚的行业专业知识,凯捷集团受到客户的信赖,在快速发展和充满创新的云、数据、人工智能、连接、软件、数字工程和平台技术的推动下,能够满足客户从战略、设计到运营的所有业务需求。集团2020年的全球营收为160亿欧元。

获得你想要的未来 |

NETRI has unique expertise and technologies in microfluidics engineering. NETRI designs, fabricates and exploits 3D microfluidics chips dedicated to neuroscience, aiming at understanding the structural and functional mechanistic of neural circuits, neurological disorders or potential novel treatments. Using a multi-compartments approach, we can reproduce in vitro neural networks of every complexity up to connectome-on-chip. Using rodent or iPSCs cells, physiologically relevant conditions can be replicated using NETRI’s NeurofluidicTM chips: Multi-nodes neural/non neural interfaces, neural circuits of every complexity, controlled structural connectivity, functional network recording, co-cultures in all nodes with fluid isolation, controlled microenvironment with disease-related injury, high-throughput microscopy compliance and small amount of reagents. 

NETRI currently collaborates with pharmaceutical companies, CROs, academic researchers and medical doctors to accelerate the understanding of neural troubles mechanisms and the discoveries of new treatments. For further information: 

Thibault Honegger 
Chief Scientific Officer, President & co-founder 
+33 48762 8118 

  • ai
  • artificial intelligence
  • nvidia
  • imaging
  • medical technology


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