Ultrasound imaging now possible with a smartphone

This blog post is similar to a previous entry on Cell Pphone Technology Set To Deliver Diagnostic Imaging (back on the 8th May 2008).

It would seem that the Washington University in St. Louis have coupled a USB-based ultrasound probe with a smartphone, creating a mobile, compact computational and medical imaging platform.

William D. Richard, PhD, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and David Zar, research associate in computer science and engineering, have made commercial USB ultrasound probes compatible with Microsoft Windows Mobile-based smartphones. (A Microsoft grant sponsored the research).

The researchers had to optimize aspects of probe design and operation, from power consumption and data transfer rate to image formation algorithms. As a result, it is now possible to build smartphone-compatible USB ultrasound probes for imaging the kidney, liver, bladder and eyes, endocavity probes for prostate and uterine screenings and biopsies, and vascular probes for imaging veins and arteries for starting IVs and central lines.

“You can carry around a probe and cell phone and image on the fly now,” Richard saide. “Imagine having these smartphones in ambulances and emergency rooms. On a larger scale, this kind of cell phone is a complete computer that runs Windows. It could become the essential computer of the Developing World, where trained medical personnel are scarce, but most of the population–as much as 90 percent–have access to a cell phone tower.”

“Twenty-first century medicine is defined by medical imaging,” Zar said. “Yet 70 percent of the world’s population has no access to medical imaging. It’s hard to take an MRI or CT scanner to a rural community without power.”

I think a new era of Ultrasound will take place soon, with lower costs for patients.

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