A couple of computer engineers at Washington University have developed a medical imaging device by combining a USB-based ultrasound probe with a Windows Mobile smartphone. Microsoft awarded William D. Richard, Ph.D., WUSTL associate professor of computer science and engineering, and David Zar, research associate in computer science and engineering, a $100,000 grant in 2008 to bring the concept to fruition.
The device's imaging probes can be used for imaging the kidney, liver, bladder and eyes; endocavity probes can be used for prostate and uterine screenings and biopsies; vascular probes can be used 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," said Richard. "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," said Zar. "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."
For more on the "ultrasound phone," check out this article from the Washington University site.
Photo Credit: David Kilper/WUSTL Photo