Probably each of us at least once in my life did an ultrasound and know what it looks like setting to conduct this survey. Even the smallest machines, referred to as “portable” are of roughly the same size as CRT monitors from the mid-90s. However, thanks to the efforts of scientists from the Butterfly Network very soon in sale will be ultrasound machines that will easily fit in a jacket pocket, while having all the advantages of “big brother”. And most interestingly, in addition to the innovative toppings made it possible to achieve such a small size, such devices will cost several times cheaper than any of the currently existing analogs.
Unlike traditional ultrasound machines, development experts from Butterfly Network called the iQ size is similar to the sensor from the usual ultrasound machine (or if you want to an electric shaver). Traditional ultrasound machines use devices with crystals of quartz, through which an electric current causes them to vibrate and emit ultrasonic waves passing through human tissue. Reflecting differently from different anatomical structures, wave return, which is captured by the sensor. Change is converted into an electrical impulse and is projected on the screen in the form of a familiar image.
A portable ultrasound device from Butterfly Network instead of quartz has in its design a capacitive ultrasonic transducers of a metal plate, sandwiched between two electrodes, which are integrated directly into the chip device. One chip is placed about 9000 of these structures, which can send and receive sound waves and convert them into three-dimensional images. But that’s not all: despite quite a good performance chip (1/2 trillion operations per second) device has an embedded neural network-based artificial intelligence and augmented reality. As a “screen” of the device can be used by any smartphone or tablet. The results of the survey are sent to the cloud, which may access any specialist from anywhere in the world.
The cost of the device at the moment is $ 2000, which is very, very cheap in comparison with the conventional apparatus, the price of which ranges from 15 000 to 100 000 USD. Well, the important thing is that the FDA (Management on sanitary inspection behind quality of foodstuff and medicines of the USA) has issued a permit for the use of iQ in medical applications, including urology, gynecology, examination of the heart, blood vessels, muscle tissue and bone structures. According to one of the head of the Butterfly Network, a portable ultrasound probe will be extremely easy to use:
“The first users of the device, of course, will be the doctors and health workers with the necessary skills in the use of ultrasound. But over time, the device will be able to use each from the paramedic who never used the ultrasound to the nurses and doctors”.