Smart phone offers ultrasound imaging at finger-tips

April 22nd, 2009 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 22 (IANS) Marrying ultrasound technology with a smartphone, computer experts have created a compact, mobile, palm-sized medical imaging device.
William D. Richard, associate professor and research associate David Zar at the computer science and engineering department of Washington University have made commercial ultrasound probes compatible with Microsoft Windows mobile-based smartphones, thanks to a $100,000 Microsoft grant.

The researchers had to optimise every aspect of probe design and operation, from power consumption and data transfer rate to image formation algorithms.

Consequently, it is now possible to build smartphone-compatible with ultrasound probes for imaging the kidney, liver, bladder and eyes, probes for prostate and uterine screenings and biopsies, and vascular probes for imaging veins and arteries for starting intravenous drips.

“You can carry around a probe and cell phone and image on the fly now,” said Richard. “Imagine having these smartphones in ambulances and emergency rooms. On a larger scale, this kind of cell phone is a complete computer that runs Windows.”

“It could become the essential computer of the developing world, where trained medical personnel are scarce, but most of the population, as much as 90 percent, have access to a cell phone tower,” he said.

“Twenty-first century medicine is defined by medical imaging,” said Zar. “Yet 70 percent of the world’s population has no access to medical imaging. It’s hard to take an MRI or CT scanner to a rural community without power.”

Richard and Zar have discussed a potential collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about integrating their probe-smartphone concept into a suite of field trials for medical applications in developing countries, said a Washington release.

Richard and Zar presented the technology at the 2009 World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C, from April 14 to 16.

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