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Cheap, Portable Ultrasound Could a Be Lifesaver . 139

Posted by samzenpus
from the scan-me dept.
ericjones12398 writes "Every year, around 250,000 women die due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth. New research developing cheap, portable ultrasounds could help reduce that number. From the article: 'Although diagnostic imaging is scarce in much of the developing world (mostly related to cost and portability), ultrasound imaging is a feasible technology for prototyping in low-resource settings such as developing countries. Indeed, many notable technology giants, such as GE and Siemens, are working on low-cost portable ultrasound models. GE’s Vscan is a handheld, pocket-sized visualization tool that allows for non-invasive ultrasounds. Mobisante, a startup in Seattle, takes portable ultrasound technology one step further with the MobiUS SP1 system, an ultrasound that wirelessly connects to the Internet or a smartphone for viewing results at an affordable price tag. By comparison, the large, clunky ultrasound machine most people associate with hospitals can cost anywhere from $32,000-$160,000.'"
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Cheap, Portable Ultrasound Could a Be Lifesaver .

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  • by s0446 (2737999) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:09PM (#41440161)
    So you know when it's the time to run away.

    Ba-dum-ttsshhh
    • Hint: If you are so fat that you can't tell whether you are pregnant or not, see a doctor, and if not pregnant, go on a diet until you can tell the difference.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    an ultrasound that wirelessly connects to the Internet or a smartphone for viewing results at an affordable price tag. By comparison, the large, clunky ultrasound machine most people associate with hospitals can cost anywhere from $32,000-$160,000.'"

    So compare ??? to $32,000-$160,000

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      Gizmodo has it [gizmodo.com]:

      The best feature may be its price which is surprisingly low. Each [mobiUS] unit costs $7,495 which is slightly less than GE's mobile ultrasound machine, the GE Vscan which costs $7,900. And now after eight months of regulatory testing, the mobiUS is finally available for purchase.

      • by gmack (197796)

        Meanwhile the Chinese have had them for less than $2000 for several years now. [aliexpress.com]

      • by sjames (1099)

        And so now that the machine is down to 1/4th the price, the bill for it's use will....probably go up.

        • by mspohr (589790)

          Yes, in the health care field, prices never go down even as "new wonderful exotic technology" becomes common and cheap to implement.
          In addition, once every doctor with dollar signs in his eyes has one of these, they will start doing them on everyone, regardless of benefit to the patient so there will be lots more procedure billed. This means that doctors can buy bigger boats!

    • According to the article, about $64.
    • $7900 (Score:5, Informative)

      by denzacar (181829) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:48PM (#41440755) Journal

      And that's the "buy now" price for the "Interson SeeMore USB Portable Ultrasound Abdominal Probe". [bonmil.com]

      On the other hand...
      As someone who had 3 different ultrasound diagnoses, to the same heart condition, by 2 specialists - which in the end turned out to be of viral origin (they were literally chasing shadows); and who later had a dubious privilege of fixing and editing hundreds of ultrasound photos for an ultrasound textbook, with each step done according to the instructions of an instructor/teacher with some 40 years in the ultrasound diagnostic - price of the equipment is not the biggest obstacle in getting the ultrasound "to the masses".

      It's training and experience.
      And you need literally years of both to start making your ultrasound guesses educated.
      Cause without both extensive training with an experienced ultrasound technician AND years of experience in doing ultrasounds of that particular section of human body - that whole "subjective interpretation of an objective method" thing amounts to just guessing.

      There's an episode of House [wikia.com] where this is nicely demonstrated by House and Wilson trying to figure out if Cuddy's daughter has swallowed a coin.
      On ultrasound it might be a dime, or it may just be an air bubble.

      • I got an echocardiogram this morning. I'd been waiting for the appointment since January.

        So yes, I agree, it's about training and experience.

        • by denzacar (181829)

          I'd been waiting for the appointment since January.

          Hope the results were favorable.

          • Thank you. The cardiologist will get the results soon, I'll find out in a week.

            They let me leave, so that's a good sign. ;) "Oh, hang on a moment, I just have to get...a...cardiologist. Try to stay calm."

            • by gmhowell (26755)

              Wonder what they're looking for. I recently had a stay in an ICU. My cardiac echo was read within just a few hours after getting it with ~8 hours notice. Of course, presenting with a complete heart block generally gets you moved up to the front of the queue.

            • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

              For the cost of a flight to Bangkok, $400, and three hours of your time, you can have an EKG, stress test, blood/urine/stool tests, abdominal ultrasound, and a handful of other tests. That three hours includes the time required to process the lab results and have a consultation with the doctor. (Bumrungrad Hospital's health check program.)

              Just did mine yesterday. When you factor in lost time at work trying to get all the visits and tests complete, the $1,600 with the flight isn't that bad.

              Abdominal ultras

              • I could also take the Clipper down to Seattle and get it done at a private US clinic. Takes a weekend, a couple hundred, and I've got a full set of diagnostics.

      • Re:$7900 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sl149q (1537343) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:50PM (#41441705)

        I was getting an Ultrasound directed procedure done a year ago and commented to the Doctor doing it that the very expensive (I think GE) device he was using would be available as a dongle and iPhone app within a year or two.

        He bristled at the suggestion saying that it wouldn't replace his decade of experience using them and interpreting the results.

        I can sympathize to a certain extent. But I suspect that there are still a vast range of simple procedures that could be helped with this type of device. That over time more MD's (especially in the 3rd world) will gain experience (the hard way by simply using them.)

        And since these are connected to devices with amazing amounts of CPU power machine based diagnostic tools will also be just around the corner.

        There will still be the hard corner cases where only an experience and well practiced professional should be using this or something more expensive to figure something out (the "House" scenarios.) But there will also be a much better care at lower cost for a wide range of things.

        • by denzacar (181829)

          There will still be the hard corner cases where only an experience and well practiced professional should be using this or something more expensive to figure something out (the "House" scenarios.) But there will also be a much better care at lower cost for a wide range of things.

          Actually, the House scenario I mention above is a VERY simple and a very typical case.
          A kid swallowing a coin. Two doctors suspecting just that.
          They do an ultrasound - and they can't agree if what they are seeing is a coin or a pocket of gas.

          It is a diagnostic method highly dependent on subjective interpretation. I.e. Trained intuition based on expert training and experience.

          That over time more MD's (especially in the 3rd world) will gain experience (the hard way by simply using them.)

          Without actual expert guidance and additional diagnostic methods such as X-ray only experience they will gain is in writing death cert

          • by godel_56 (1287256)

            Actually, the House scenario I mention above is a VERY simple and a very typical case. A kid swallowing a coin. Two doctors suspecting just that. They do an ultrasound - and they can't agree if what they are seeing is a coin or a pocket of gas.

            It is a diagnostic method highly dependent on subjective interpretation. I.e. Trained intuition based on expert training and experience.

            Metal detector? :)

        • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

          Biggest challenge after interpreting the results is to know where to point it and what needs further analysis.

      • Re:$7900 (Score:5, Funny)

        by camperdave (969942) on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:31PM (#41442295) Journal

        There's an episode of House [wikia.com] where this is nicely demonstrated by House and Wilson trying to figure out if Cuddy's daughter has swallowed a coin. On ultrasound it might be a dime, or it may just be an air bubble.

        Radio Shack sells metal detectors for about $100.

        • by denzacar (181829)

          They were trying to hide the fact that the kid may have swallowed a coin while they were babysitting her.
          Knowing that she has swallowed a coin doesn't really help them as they were working with that conclusion from the start.
          The question was is the coin in a safe place (i.e. it will come out soon on its own) or could it possibly cause a health problem for the kid.

          Also, how to get it out without Cuddy finding about it.

        • by Agripa (139780)

          Damnit camperdave, they are doctors, not engineers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheSwift (2714953)

        There's an episode of House [wikia.com] where this is nicely demonstrated by House and Wilson trying to figure out if Cuddy's daughter has swallowed a coin. On ultrasound it might be a dime, or it may just be an air bubble.

        While I've heard that some House episodes are very educational, I can tell you that that House episode was just another medical TV show keeping the public sufficiently ignorant of medicine to ensure that we'll always need health professionals. What the HELL were they doing getting an US!?! I work in an emergency department and anyone with eyes can tell the difference between a foreign body and an air bubble on an X-ray. To my knowledge US is never used to evaluate for foreign body.

        Wikipedia: http://en.wik [wikipedia.org]

  • women (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:14PM (#41440221)

    It could also increase the number of gender-specific abortions.

  • Money better spent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sunking2 (521698) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:15PM (#41440225)
    Education so they don't get knocked up in the first place. I'm not sure how you address famine by increasing the rates of overpopulation.
    • by s0446 (2737999)
      And why should I wear condom when having sex? It takes away all the fun.
      • by mr1911 (1942298) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:38PM (#41440599)

        And why should I wear condom when having sex? It takes away all the fun.

        You do not have to wear a condom. Your hand cannot get pregnant.

        The earlier post was referring to those that have sex with women.

      • by Hartree (191324)

        "And why should I wear condom when having sex? It takes away all the fun."

        Yup. Changing diapers at 3 am is such fun.

        • by tibit (1762298)

          It is fun if you want it to be :)

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            Clearly you've been up changing diapers at 3am far too many times, you're getting delusional.

            • by tibit (1762298)

              If you get into a routine and do it when the baby is fed (say before feeding), and that should normally happen on fixed schedule -- at least at night, then it's no biggie. I'd fall right back to sleep afterwards. The whole feed-change thingo shouldn't take longer than 15-20 minutes when a normal baby is past the first week or two. It sure is a whole another ballgame if you have a preemie, cleft lip, etc. 20 minutes up every 3 hours -- nothing to complain about. Key rule: after feeding and burping, put the k

          • by Hartree (191324)

            "It is fun if you want it to be :)"

            Uh... Sorry. Not my particular kink.

      • Hows the food at the Ecuadorian embassy?

    • Education so they don't get knocked up in the first place. I'm not sure how you address famine by increasing the rates of overpopulation.

      Increased certainty.

      By making family planning realistic, and less of a crapshoot, 3rd world women don't have to have as many babies.
      Subsistence farmers have always had to maximize the number of children in order to survive.

    • by srussia (884021)

      I'm not sure how you address famine by increasing the rates of overpopulation.

      The same way you eliminate bugs by not writing software in the first place.

    • by Aguazul2 (2591049)
      Perhaps instead it will be used to abort more female babies, which will reduce the population, perhaps drastically. (Apart from leaving a generation of frustrated men). This already happens, BTW, in both India and China.
      • It'd be a stretch to see the minority vagina phobia of the western fundamentalists (and their like-minded fundie immigrant friends) translate in to a broad movement to abort girls. Not impossible, but pretty unlikely for the foreseeable future.

  • who knows what else will happen from making this cheap and portable?

    Sadly because it will be called a "medical device" real innovation with them will be limited since they will be hard to get ahold of cheaply to play with (its a medical device afterall)

    However.... I have to wonder how many random uses an ultrasound imaging device would have, if you took off the "medical device" label and let people have at it.

    Even in medical fields, I have had an ultrasound, turns out you can use one to look through the liv

    • Market it as a veterinary device.
    • by boristdog (133725)

      Also handy for finding kidney stones.

    • What? Your rant makes little sense. We've had small, portable ultrasounds for years. Looking at TFA I'm not seeing much of a breakthrough - they're perhaps a bit cheaper, a bit better but I don't see the breakthrough. You can buy second hand portables for a couple of grand.... No, you don't need a really expensive or sophisticated machine to do routine obstetrics work and there are thousands of cheap, used and entirely functional ultrasounds running around. It's not the lack of technology that causes m

      • The really big deal is the one from the Newcastle team that they estimate will cost $65. That's orders of magnitude less than the other "low-cost" devices around.

        Even with degraded accuracy, having _some_ imaging capability is almost certainly better than having none.

        • Even with degraded accuracy, having _some_ imaging capability is almost certainly better than having none.

          Having "some" ultrasound diagnostic capability of questionably quality is WORSE than having none.

          First, you have to realize that the problem with ultrasound diagnostic is not in the lack of equipment.
          Its in the lack of experts. And you really need EXPERTS, not technicians. Why?

          Well, its the second thing - without years of expertise it is just a guessing game.
          And experts become experts after years of training and experience of ultrasound imaging and diagnostic - on a very specific part of the body.
          It's one o

          • As a screening tool you worry about false negatives more then false positives and specific diagnosis.

            I'm talking about a tool that can say 'there is something wrong' before someone walks for days to go to a hospital. The experts are at the hospital.

            Like any forecasting tool, it's utility will be about not raising false alarms (which will get it ignored in the future) while not missing real problems.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      turns out you can use one to look through the liver at the heart

      If your heart (or liver) is in the wrong quadrant of your trunk, you have yourself some serious problems...

    • by sl149q (1537343)

      It just means that you'll have to buy it from an eBay seller in Hong Kong or Dubai.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:19PM (#41440307)

    Cost is not the only issue. Ultrasound equipment is severely regulated in some countries because it is used for gender identification that results in selective abortions. When my wife was pregnant in Shanghai, we had to go to a special hospital for foreigners to get an ultrasound.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was going to post the exact same thing - about abortions not about your wife. But mine had the much better Subject line that these people should have tattooed on their foreheads "UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES"

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Rather than banning ultrasounds, how about we subsidize the production of girls? Use the carrot, not the stick.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Ultrasound equipment is severely regulated in some countries because it is used for gender identification that results in selective abortions."

      You mean mostly in the 2 only countries who have over 1 billion citizens?
      What's wrong if the populace eliminates the breeders? No matter for what reason.
      Think of it as evolution in action.

  • Instead of facilitating the addition of millions of babies into poverty, perhaps a much greater emphasis should be placed on preventing their conception.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:34PM (#41440557)

      Instead of facilitating the addition of millions of babies into poverty, perhaps a much greater emphasis should be placed on preventing their conception.

      One of the best ways to encourage women to have fewer babies is to make them feel more confident that those fewer babies are going to be healthy.

      • I think the population explosion in poorer countries over the last 50 years pretty conclusively shows that to be false.

        • I think the population explosion in poorer countries over the last 50 years pretty conclusively shows that to be false.

          There is a very strong correlation between child mortality and birthrate. When war or famine kills children, women tend to have even more children to compensate. The country with the highest birthrate in the world is Niger, which is currently experiencing both a famine and a civil war.

          When UNICEF installed wells to provide clean water in many African villages, rates of childhood diarrhea fell, and the birthrate fell right along with it, and fell by more than the mortality decreased. The birthrate in neig

  • by gtirloni (1531285) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:21PM (#41440329)
    "GE’s Vscan is a handheld, pocket-sized visualization tool that allows for non-invasive ultrasounds."

    I can only imagine the military-grade ultrasound cannon required for an invasive ultrasound exam.
    • "Invasive" ultrasound can be used to break up kidney stones. Much, much, louder than the imaging version.
      • They also have one for early preganancy tests that is inserted into the vagina. Much easier to see a baby in the first 8 weeks with this kind. It's very invasive looking.

    • I can only imagine the military-grade ultrasound cannon required for an invasive ultrasound exam.

      The TSA has already ordered $3 billion worth of the Vscan - MGUC

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        I'd rather they ultrasound me than use one of those scanners. From my understanding ultrasound does not utilize radiation.

    • by logistic (717955)

      "GE’s Vscan is a handheld, pocket-sized visualization tool that allows for non-invasive ultrasounds."

      I can only imagine the military-grade ultrasound cannon required for an invasive ultrasound exam.

      No cannons ( they didn't say invasion ultrasound...) but :

      Transesophageal echocardiograpy (heart) : http://pie.med.utoronto.ca/TEE/TEE_content/TEE_standardViews_intro.html [utoronto.ca]

      Endobronchial ultrasound (lung and mediastinum) : http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/455720_7 [medscape.com]

      Endoscopic ultrasound (pancreas liver etc) : http://www.asge.org/patients/patients.aspx?id=380 [asge.org]

      Intravascular ultrasound (coronoary arteries etc) : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intravascular_ultrasound [wikipedia.org]

      Transrectal ultrasound(guess) : http://emedic [medscape.com]

    • "GE’s Vscan is a handheld, pocket-sized visualization tool that allows for non-invasive ultrasounds."
      I can only imagine the military-grade ultrasound cannon required for an invasive ultrasound exam.

      Since none of the other commenters replying seem to have yet touched on this, I was involved in the design and manufacture of ultrasound imaging devices that were fed into the femoral artery and snaked up to image the heart from the inside, aka invasive ultrasound.

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:23PM (#41440359) Journal
    I used to work for an ophthalamic ultrasound company. The hardware itself doesn't need to be expensive if you want basic functionality; it can be done in a USB-attachable box and run on any Windows machine. What makes devices like this expensive is the FDA (and it's equivalent agencies in non-U.S. countries) and all the extensive testing that needs to be done before they'll approve the device for sale. For ophthalamic ultrasound, I believe it cost something on the order of $50000US to perform all the testing that the FDA required before it could be legally sold. Other countries would require their own testing. All of this ends up driving the cost up. Of course the mere fact that it's a medical device means that the manufacturers jack the price up to make a gigantic profit off it, because doctors don't have much choice of where to buy their equipment, too.
    • If it makes you feel better, the cost to test/approve a "new" engineered item for use in residential construction, the costs are similar - $50,000-$100,000 - to complete all of the required testing and documentation (ICC-ES) for nearly "automatic" approval by code officials.It's all about the guarantee of safety, and it's partially because there is no one holding the bag when things go wrong. Nobody will (actually, no one can) put their livelihood on the line to vouch for it.

    • by olau (314197)

      If you can sell a lot of them 50k USD isn't really that much. I think you're right the big price is because this is not marketed to consumers, it's marketed to the health sector where people are used to pay a lot of money for their equipment.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I was at a company with a relatively inexpensive and portable ultrasound system that could be docked to larger cart and with image quality equal to top end systems. They're still around but it's not a great time to be a medical device company. At the time though many hospitals were stopping all capital purchases even for cheaper and better equipment. Most competing portable ultrasounds were lower quality and stuck with a flatter "laptop" form factor which really hurts in a lot of technical ways as well a

  • Sounds like half a plan.

  • With all the advancement in the medical industry, I honestly find it somewhat surprising this has taken so long to come about. There are a lot more implications than just pregnancy observation this device could work for. These could be issued to Military Medics and First Responders for more accurate treatment and diagnosis on the spot. They could also be used in other emergency situations to address concerns from injury prior to opening the person up. Specifically, car accidents and from the military standp

    • by Valor958 (2724297)

      ...and for all those commenting about this contributing to overpopulation or mocking China's gender identification practices, I don't really see how that fits an article like this. Then again, how rarely does a /. comment section actually stay ON topic or relevent?
      In recent news, a baby seal washed up on a beach.... -- comment "Stupid Repubs/Dems... now they're killing baby seals!" XD

  • While I disagree personally with not chooicing to have a baby due it "likely" gender. As a historian I feel that long term it could work out. If the population becoming to ratio one way then the value of the smaller group tends to increase. This can be seen in tradions of a "bride price" ie the man has to pay the bride's family. Having a shortage of woman could also force there to be a drop in the population. As an added bouns drop number of woman below that of men tends to cause wars which also tend to kil
  • In America, the cows get ultrasounds. What a country!
  • It will be interesting to see how this factors into the gender selection battles in China. It is currently illegal in China to perform an ultrasound or a sonogram for purposes of telling the parents the gender of the child. There are clandestine ultrasound techs who drive around with the machines in their trunk and flee when the cops catch wind of what is going on. This could turn all of that on its head.
  • Prenatal care? (Score:2, Interesting)

    During the recent healthcare debates in the USA I was stunned to read how many American women deliver babies with zero prenatal care - They present at emergency in labour and it's the first time they see a doc. Blew my mind that that sort of thing could go on in 'the greatest nation on earth.' Sounded more like The Sudan to me.
    • by magarity (164372)

      During the recent healthcare debates in the USA I was stunned to read how many American women deliver babies with zero prenatal care - They present at emergency in labour and it's the first time they see a doc. Blew my mind that that sort of thing could go on in 'the greatest nation on earth.' Sounded more like The Sudan to me.

      During the recent healthcare debates I was stunned to read that despite every state (not "most", "every") already having a Medicaid program including prenatal care a lot of low income people just don't know any better and show up at the emergency room during labor to see a doc for the first time. Yes, the USA definitely needs to address this serious problem by adopting a nationalized health care system.

      • What your saying is that despite the fact that pregnant women are already covered by Medicaid, we should use the fact they are too irresponsible to get prenatal care as an excuse to nationalize healthcare?

        Just so we know where you are coming from.

        • by magarity (164372)

          The last sentence of my comment was heavy on the sarcasm to counter whatever was going on in the last two sentences of the comment to which I was responding. Does he expect pregnant women to be dragged in for prenatal care by the prenatal care police or was whatever he reading spun in such a way as to give home the mistaken impression low income pregnant women didn't already have a government provided means for prenatal care?

  • At the high end, there's 3D real time ultrasound. [4dfetalimaging.com] This builds up a 3D image from multiple scans from different directions. The ultrasound part of this is no more complex than the basic machines. The 3D part is knowing where the sensor is and software to build up a 3D image. 3D images are much easier to interpret than simple reflection images, and you can rotate them and look from another angle.

    So what's needed is a handheld device with a position tracking system. You could probably kludge something tog

    • by SnowDog74 (745848)

      This isn't needed so much as adequate training... a good radiologist/ultrasound technician can identify defects/anomalies in a 2D planar image. If more complex imaging were required, it wouldn't do the patient much good without being near a Level 1 trauma center fully equipped to actually do anything about it. And even then, three dimensional ultrasonography is very low in detail. There's not a tremendous amount more diagnostic information you'll gain, versus sending them to an L1 trauma center equipped

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I've used a few of these, even on portable machines. Can do it easily without high accuracy, because if you don't scan slowly most of the image is interpolation anyway.

      Though to be fair, diagnostically the 3D part is relatively small. For obstetrics it seems to be a big hit to provide screenshots for expectant parents, often as just the last step after the real exam is over. The market for 3D was much smaller outside OB.

    • Women say: "My body, my choice." Nobody can tell them otherwise when they decide to have an abortion. They can have one at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all.
    • And yet girls right now earn more income in the factories in Shenzhen than boys. Give it time, all things balance out.
    • darwin will take care of this...

    • by TheSwift (2714953)
      Do you really think that a significant amount of people in third world countries would get access to hand-held US (and know how to use it!) before they had access to an OB/GYN who could give them a sonogram anyways? The latter would, of course, thus allow them to determine the sex of their child and so have the same result.

      Yes, that's already happening every day in China, but I personally, don't think hand-held US aren't going to make it happen any faster. Why would anyone spend $7000 on a hand-held US wh

  • Thanks to this technology and a good gynecologist my wife and I were informed that our little daughter have spina biffida, this helped the doctors to program a C Section to my wife and decide the best action to follow. Right now my baby is 19 month old and doing great!
    Thank you technology and thank you science and medical advances!!
  • The thing lacking in both the original article and the comments here (except for a few) is that ultrasonographic imaging has many diagnostic applications outside of neonatal care. Cardiopulmonary medicine, nephrology, hepatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology... the list goes on. All of these applications would make low cost, portable ultrasonography extremely beneficial in third world and developing countries.

    • by elucido (870205)

      The thing lacking in both the original article and the comments here (except for a few) is that ultrasonographic imaging has many diagnostic applications outside of neonatal care. Cardiopulmonary medicine, nephrology, hepatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology... the list goes on. All of these applications would make low cost, portable ultrasonography extremely beneficial in third world and developing countries.

      It can also detect signals through walls such as keystrokes.

  • Make ANY medical technology cheap and portable and it'll save lives.
  • My gf had a baby last year so I actually went looking for this to see if you could buy them cheap from Hong Kong. As it turns out, you can in fact buy the USB gadget with the actual hardware, the problem is that you also need some software to do the imaging, and they generally sell that with a netbook in one ugly looking package. The cheapest online quote I found was something north of 8000-10000 USD.

    But you can buy it. So I don't think the hardware is actually the problem. It's just a question of the curre

  • I have worked in this exact field for 12+ years (see www.ultrasonix.com) - started as a software developer, and now involved with internal/external research and product development for the past 5 years. What the article fails to mention is that, sure there are a lot of low cost options in the market, there always have been and always will be - but their diagnostic capabilities are so inferior, that to try and address problems like pregnancy complications may be pointless. Obstetrical ultrasound is one of th
  • A useful hand-held US machine could assist in a variety of ways in the healthcare profession. It would mean that trained doctors without access to other, larger equipment (remote places) could reliably diagnose or rule out appendicitis (among many other disease processes). If paramedics were trained on the machine, they could quickly establish peripheral IV access to administer medication in life or death situations.

    I work an emergency department with an emergency physician who uses a "large, clunky US ma

  • These guys have been around for quite a while:

    http://www.telemed.lt/main_en.htm [telemed.lt]

  • Strange to hear the current ultrasound machines being described as 'clunky' - the one at my (NHS) hospital where my wife got her scans was pretty awesome. The level of ergonomic & functional design that went into it was fantastic, and the operator knew exactly what she was doing. The machine had clearly been designed in collaboration with the end user, as it had e.g. cubby holes for gel bottles and all smooth easy-to-clean surfaces. The nurse had one hand on the scanner, and the other on a trackball

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