It started with a breakthrough idea
Braster S.A. is a Poland-based company founded by scientists with a mission – to save lives by giving women an easier, more effective and more comfortable way to conduct breast self-examinations at home. They believed that through regular home screening, more women would be able to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, thereby living longer, healthier lives.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with 1.7 million new cases diagnosed each year.1
The Braster device they created, a certified medical device proven efficacious in clinical trials, is now available in Poland and will soon be available worldwide. The device gives patients and doctors the ability to track and detect anomalies that may be dangerous through a method that is 100 percent safe, as well as radiation- and pain-free.
Using liquid crystals, the Braster device captures a thermographic image of the breast tissue that can show temperature anomalies – a telltale sign of the presence of cancer cells. Because of the life-saving potential the device offers, Braster and its backers wanted to get it to market as fast as possible.
Make or break imaging accuracy
In the spring of 2016, their product market launch was rapidly taking shape. A marketing campaign was in the works and Braster, a publicly traded company with commitments to investors to be in market by the end of the year, was under enormous pressure. The team had contracted with a product design company in the Netherlands to take their device from prototype to production. It was the design company’s responsibility to source a camera module that could be embedded in the device and meet the needs and specifications of Braster. The efficacy of the device, after all, hinged on its image acquisition quality. That’s where Avnet stepped in.
Michael Uyttersprot, an embedded vision technical marketing manager for Avnet in Belgium, remembers the initial request from the design company very well. And with a tight deadline looming, there was no time to spare.
“As soon as we saw the design specifications, we worked on a plan to deliver the best image quality for this specific application. Several iterations with different camera modules were explored to find a total embedded vision solution fully optimized for the Braster device.”
More than 90 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive for at least five years compared to around 15 percent for women diagnosed at the most advanced stage of disease.2
Objectivity finds a better solution
Avnet introduced the Braster team to an established camera module manufacturer who could build a camera module customized to their exact specifications, fully optimized for their application at a lower cost than some of the options initially considered. Avnet and the manufacturer were able to support lower volume for preproduction and a product lifecycle compatible with Braster’s needs. And, even better, they could meet the strict timeline. Avnet then provided the technical support necessary to integrate the module into Braster’s existing design and to ensure processor compatibility.
Adds Michael, “Thanks to the strong cooperation between Braster and Avnet’s technical and sales teams in the Netherlands and Poland, we delivered a successful design on time and within budget.”
A holistic approach
The relationship between Braster and Avnet has evolved into a strong partnership. Today, Braster has set its sights on markets outside of Poland, and Avnet is working in lockstep with the team on the release of their next-generation device. Goals include reducing cost and implementing new functionality. Avnet’s holistic approach to helping Braster overcome challenges continues to pay cost- and time-saving dividends.
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