Surely, each of us at least once in life did ultrasound and knows what the installation looks like for this survey. Even the smallest devices, called “portable”, have roughly the same dimensions as CRT monitors from the mid-90’s. However, thanks to the efforts of scientists from the Butterfly Network company, ultrasound devices will soon be on sale that will easily fit into the jacket pocket, while possessing all the advantages of a “big brother”. And what is most interesting, in addition to the innovative filling that has made it possible to achieve such small dimensions, such devices will cost several times cheaper than any existing analogues at the moment.
Unlike traditional ultrasound machines, the development of experts from the Butterfly Network called iQ is similar in size to a sensor from a conventional ultrasound machine (or, if you want, an electric shaver). Traditional ultrasound devices use devices with quartz crystals, passing through which an electric current makes them vibrate and emit ultrasonic waves passing through human tissues. Reflecting differently from different anatomical structures, the waves return back, which is captured by the sensor. Changes are transformed into an electrical impulse and projected on the screen in the form of a familiar image.
Portable ultrasound machine from Butterfly Network instead of quartz has in its design capacitive ultrasonic transducers – metal plates sandwiched between two electrodes, which are integrated directly into the chip of the device. On one chip is placed about 9000 such structures that can send and receive sound waves and convert them into three-dimensional images. But that’s not all: despite the quite good performance of the chip (1/2 trillion operations per second), the device has a built-in neural network based on artificial intelligence and augmented reality. As a “screen” of the device can be used any smartphone or tablet. The results of the survey are sent to the cloud storage, to which any specialist from anywhere in the world can access.
The cost of the device at the moment is $ 2,000, which is very, very cheap in comparison with conventional devices, the price for which ranges from $ 15,000 to $ 100,000. Well, most importantly, the FDA has already issued a permit for the use of iQ for medical purposes, including in urology, gynecology, cardiac, vascular, muscle and bone structures. According to one of the head of the Butterfly Network, the portable ultrasound sensor will be extremely easy to use:
“The first users of the device, of course, will be doctors and health workers who have the necessary skills in the use of ultrasound. But over time, everyone can use the device: from a paramedic who never used ultrasound, to a nurse and a doctor. “