An MRI scanner powered by Facebook’s artificial intelligence technology could significantly speed up the time it takes to perform a scan – from 90 minutes to just five minutes.

The social media giant is working with radiologists, allowing artificial intelligence to fill data gaps, meaning the scanner sonly need to take a few 2D pictures of the patient’s body and turn it into a 3D view of their internals.

At the moment, patients have to wait for up to an hour and a half while scanners take both 2D and 3D photos of their body and the merge them to give a better idea of what’s going on inside their body. Not only is this an uncomfortable experience, but it could be the difference of life or death is the patient is in a critical condition.

Early tests of the FastMRI project show that the technology is pretty accurate, although it does need extensive testing to ensure nothing is missed by the robots.

The project is being led by scientists from New York University and although the concept was developed by radiologists at the university, it needed a boost from AI experts and so enlisted Facebook’s engineers.

“We have some great physicists here and even some hot-stuff mathematicians, but Facebook has some of the leading AI scientists in the world,” the university’s Dr Daniel Sodickson told TechCrunch.

“The sense is that already in the first attempts, with relatively simple methods, we can do better than other current acceleration techniques — get better image quality and maybe accelerate further by some percentage, but not by large multiples yet.”

One of the biggest concerns is that one tiny slip-up could have devastating results for the patient.