Medical

Pocket-sized, affordably-priced ultrasound connects to an iPhone

Pocket-sized, affordably-price...
The portable ultrasound device is the size of a electric shaver
The portable ultrasound device is the size of a electric shaver
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The portable ultrasound device is the size of a electric shaver
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The portable ultrasound device is the size of a electric shaver
It connects to an iPhone
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It connects to an iPhone
The company has developed a unique and new ultrasound scanning system different to larger more traditional devices
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The company has developed a unique and new ultrasound scanning system different to larger more traditional devices
The device can fit in a doctor's pocket
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The device can fit in a doctor's pocket
It will sell for less than $2,000
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It will sell for less than $2,000
The closest similar device sells for $6,000
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The closest similar device sells for $6,000
The new system is only available to doctors and medical clinics
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The new system is only available to doctors and medical clinics
The Butterfly iQ
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The Butterfly iQ

"There's a smartphone app for that" is pretty much a joke punchline nowadays, with our smartphones being utilized for everything from spotting skin cancers to detecting concussions. The immense power of these small pocket-sized computers is enabling clever engineers to develop a myriad of portable technological devices that, until now, were expensive and large. One such innovation is called the Butterfly iQ, a small ultrasound device that can display clear black-and-white pictures on an iPhone.

Ultrasound technology has evolved rapidly over recent decades and top-tier machines, offering impressively high-resolution images, can easily sell for well over US$100,000. Even at the other end of the spectrum, a second-hand, basic system will set a small medical clinic back $10 to $20,000. Philips, one of the leaders in medical ultrasound devices, launched a small portable scanner recently, costing around $6,000 (or available through a monthly subscription model of $199 per month).

It connects to an iPhone
It connects to an iPhone

The Butterfly iQ is set to shake up this market even further with its new device selling at under $2,000. This stunningly cheap and accessible price makes the technology available to individual doctors, just another weapon in their diagnostic toolkit that can be slipped into a pocket.

The device is cleared by the FDA for 13 different clinical applications spanning the entire body, from abdominal and gynecological uses to cardiac or urology examinations. It is currently considered a prescription device so it is only available to licensed healthcare practitioners.

The Butterfly iQ
The Butterfly iQ

John Martin, a vascular surgeon, was testing the Butterfly ultrasound earlier this year and ended up unexpectedly finding a cancer in his own neck. Martin is now, unsurprisingly, one of the Butterfly iQ's most vocal endorsers, suggesting the device can dramatically speed up diagnostic processes that in past have taken weeks or months.

"I felt something funny in my neck, connected the probe to my phone, did an ultrasound and there it was – a tumor," explains Martin.

While the cancer obviously needed further biopsy-based evidence before it was properly diagnosed, the affordability and portability of this Butterfly iQ ultrasound means it can be deployed virtually anywhere quickly and easily. And the extraordinarily affordable price point means small clinics and individual doctors can put it in their diagnostic tool kit, right alongside their stethoscope and thermometer.

Source: Butterfly

4 comments
MD
Sonosite also have a scanner whish has the brains in the handpiece, and little more than a 5 inch display monitor. Already on the market around $7k (AUD) (for a real quote call sonosite).
Bruce H. Anderson
Being affordable for a doctor to have in his office will certainly speed up preliminary diagnosis that might indicate more detailed tests are in order, and perhaps eliminate some costly scans by eliminating some guesswork. Looks like a win/win.
DaveLight
Absolutely NO reason for us to carry the steth any longer. There is nothing I need to hear that I can't see with this AND with 100% more definition than simply trying to hear in a noise ED or clinic area. Also, this will drastically lower the cost of care since once I see it on my own US I am not likely going to then order another one from the imaging department I am going to move right to the next diagnostic tool be it biopsy MRI/CT etc. I DOUBT that the InsCos are going to allow us to charge for a bedside US with an iPhone app the same or at all from ones we order done by imaging and with secondary evaluation so these might lower costs as well Sure, in the beginning, everyone will try to make money and increase care but eventually, what will happen like in Ob/Gyn the handheld doppler will be a free add-on for speed and experience rather than profit and ROI Dr Dave
MK23666
Star Trek got it right AGAIN!