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Medicine Technology

Revitalizing Medical Imaging With Ultrasound-On-a-Chip 47

catchblue22 writes: MIT Technology Review has an article about a device being developed by Butterfly Network that aims to make medical imaging dirt cheap. From the article: "Butterfly's patent applications describe its aim as building compact, versatile new ultrasound scanners that can create 3-D images in real time. Hold it up to a person's chest, and you would look through 'what appears to be a window' into the body, according to the documents. ... Most ultrasound machines use small piezoelectric crystals or ceramics to generate and receive sound waves. But these have to be carefully wired together, then attached via cables to a separate box to process the signals. Anyone who can integrate ultrasound elements directly onto a computer chip could manufacture them cheaply in large batches, and more easily create the type of arrays needed to produce 3-D images."
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Revitalizing Medical Imaging With Ultrasound-On-a-Chip

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would've been nice if TFA linked to the patent application, for the sake of completeness.

    • and if it's patented, i doubt the dirt cheap claim will become true anytime soon.
      why would they offer it dirt cheap if they can just make it a bit cheaper than current solutions and get a lot of profit

      • Good point however sometimes dirt cheap has association attached to it, so maybe dirt cheap in the realm of medical devices, or again, sometimes, it's considered beneficial to go for quantity and license the IP for a reasonable fee to many vendors on the hope that a small slice of a much bigger pies is better.

        If for instance this allowed 3D ultrasound technology drop to a consumer price point maybe the profitable strategy is to license it cheap to everyone and collect a few bucks on the sale of every iPho
      • dirt cheap to manufacture, no one said anything about dirt cheap to buy.

        Medical equipment is a huge scam, makes $500 dollar hammers look like a walmart special.

        • by Adriax ( 746043 )

          Hey, they have to have some justification to charge people 2 months of an average middle class salary for a pair of tylenol.

      • " i doubt the dirt cheap claim will become true anytime soon."

        Not because it's patented, but because it's a medical device. You have to go through the FDA grinder, assuring that your device will be years over budget and priced out of patient reach.

      • They might forgo calling it medical equipment. If they call it a toy, they don't have to have FDA approval. It isn't invasive or anything and kids might have fun with it - as good as x-ray specs.
      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        And if it's a medical device, by the time the doctors get hold of it and charge their "special" markup (because we can), it will be no cheaper (and probably more expensive) than existing ultrasound.

    • by Enokcc ( 1500439 )

      Would've been nice if TFA linked to the patent application, for the sake of completeness.

      https://www.google.com/url?sa=... [google.com]

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @09:06AM (#48316993)

    I remember another "Butterfly Something" company that also had a "Something-On-a-Chip" product, are they related?

  • by mha ( 1305 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @09:08AM (#48317003) Homepage

    https://www.edx.org/course/uqx... [edx.org]

    The course's contents is still accessible. "Episode 3" is about Ultrasound.

    All videos from the course on Youtube (there is a lot more content on edX - text and images):

    https://www.youtube.com/channe... [youtube.com]

    Look for "Brian has an Ultrasound" in that list (after loading all videos under that account) and go backwards (left and up) in the list for all videos on ultrasound.

    The course/the videos are really interesting!

  • Yawn! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I did this with my arduino a few years ago. Got the parts at Microcenter.

  • I expect to see opposition to this from some pro-choicers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pro-choicers are pro-choice. They don't oppose giving women choices. That's why they are pro-choice. The clue is in the name.

    • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

      I expect to see opposition to this from some pro-choicers.

      Uh... why, exactly?

      • Some (not all) pro-choicers are de facto pro-abortion. Why does Planned Parenthood charge moms for ultrasounds while cpc's all over the country give them for free?

        Interestingly, the quote at the bottom of slashdot right now is - "Everyone is entitled to an *informed* opinion." -- Harlan Ellison

        This is exactly what an ultrasound does - it gives the mom more information and makes her more informed. Why do some Planned Parenthood clinics (like in New Jersey) not even do ultrasounds unless the mom already wants

  • BUT WHY DOESN'T IT BEAM IT TO YOUR SMARTPHONE lN AN APP SO YOU CAN SHARE SCANS ON FACETWEET

    these guys clearly know nothing about how to take a simple process and fuck it up
  • You keep using that word - but I do not think it means what you think it means.

    The medical imaging industry seems to be going gangbusters already - it's not a field in need of revitalization.

    • Agreed. It's just doublespeak.

      If he really wanted to help, he would make MRI cheaper, because it is far more informative than ultrasound.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah and if Alexander Graham Bell had given a shit he'd have developed a way for humans to communicate telepathically because that's far more useful than a telephone.

        Seriously, do you even think before you hit Submit?

      • "If he really wanted to help, he would make MRI cheaper, because it is far more informative than ultrasound."

        Not necessarily. Each medical imaging modality has its purpose. Ultrasound shows what is happening in real time. Eventually mainstream MRI will, too. Because of the required magnetic fields, I doubt MRI will ever be as portable as Ultrasound.

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