Ultrasound on a Mobile - Inexpensive, Pervasive, and the Future

Posted by KatrinVerclas on May 04, 2009

Take a low-cost ultrasound probe, a Windows mobile phone, and the skills of two scientists at Washington University in St Louis in the United States, and you get the world's first mobile-phone ultrasound instrument.

USB-based ultrasound probes have been around since 2005, offering a much cheaper and more portable alternative to larger ultrasound machines.  Probes provide increasingly high-quality imaging for a tenth of the cost.  A typical, portable ultrasound device costs around $20,000, while USB probes sell for around $2,000 right now - and the price is declining. Probes are ideally suited for first-responders and for primary care in developing countries, for example. 

The small probes are connected to a phone with a USB cord that have been, typically, connected to a laptop for displaying the images. But carrying around laptops for transmitting images is not an option in many clinics in developing countries for lack of consistent electricity, heat, and lack of Internet access.