A man in a blue doctor clothes, the stethoscope hangs him by the shoulders, breathing protection is stuck in front of his mouth. A Boy sits next to him and lifts his Arm above his head, but the look of the doctor is not in his direction. He looks at the iPhone Display in his left Hand, on the black streaks move, while his right is a small, black device and pressed against the chest of the patient. The image that Esther Ruth Mbabazi shot for the New York Times, shows the use of a portable ultrasound device in the Kabale district in Western Uganda.
The six-year-old Boy is coughing for a Long time and has swollen lymph nodes, reports the US magazine. He plays with his peers and friends on the football field depends weakly on the coat-tails of the mother. In the case of a doctor you were not so far, because of the is many miles away. In the same way as the next ultrasonic device. This is true, however, only on the large appliances, we know from the treatment rooms of Doctors. A portable variant, hardly bigger than an electric shaver, it keeps Rodgers Ssekawoko Muhumuza on the photo in his right Hand.
9000 tiny drums send sound waves
“Butterfliy iQ” is the name of the ultrasonic device for the jacket pocket, the urged already in the Winter of 2017 on the American market and is currently in several developing countries. The ultrasound image is displayed while the investigation live on the Smartphone that is connected via a cable to the ultrasonic probe.
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In a conventional ultrasound examination, sound waves are generated with a costly vibrating crystal in the body is transmitted and its echoes are evaluated. The Start-up of the “Butterfly Network” from Connecticut used instead of 9000 tiny drums, which are mounted on a semiconductor Chip and of the probe from sound waves to to send. The mass production in a semiconductor factory pushes the price – just under US $ 2000 cost of the portable ultrasound device on the market.
So far, only clinicians can acquire the new technology and use, but that is not the goal of founder, Jonathan Rothberg and his colleagues. The Butterfly iQ is intended to expand the ultrasonic device to a consumer product, “that is so ubiquitous as a household thermometer,” he told a German journal. Until then, however, some licensing and privacy hurdles to be taken.
Many diseases can be easily treated
Rothberg conceived of the technology, when his daughter fell ill and regular ultrasound images required. The device is saved to the business man and his daughter the ways of the doctor’s practice, in use in Africa and other developing countries, it frequently decides between life and death. Pulmonary inflammation are among the most common causes of death of children in poor countries and are often diagnosed incorrectly. To recognize them early by ultrasound, the disease with medications to quickly reduce.
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However, it is not always easy to convince the Locals of the investigation, reports the New York Times. In many African countries, the ancient medical practices that are done until today, and of the population are recognized to exist. Often, this procedure pain fully, and do not contribute to healing. Tech pioneers are trying to lure Pregnant, especially with the view to her unborn child. Diseases such as HIV, Syphilis, high blood pressure, and Vitamin deficiencies can early and treated accordingly detected before they harm the mother and child significantly.
An ultrasound device in the hands of the laity?
With all the advantages also the question of who can use the Butterfly iQ and have the potential to succeed in the future, and may remain, however. The black-and-gray shadow on the Smartphone Display correctly classify and identify all the organs, blood vessels, etc., requires specialized knowledge that must be laboriously learned.
In Uganda and other developing countries, workers have been trained in four months, to interpret ultrasound images on the Smartphone expertly. In addition, Artificial intelligence is supposed to help when Placing the ultrasonic probe and the Analyzing of the images, which is embedded in the technology. The Butterfly-engineers fed their Software with data sets of ultrasound images, and taught to distinguish between a good and a poor image for parts of the body such as the heart or the lungs. Whether that’s enough to put Butterfly iQ soon in the hands of a non-mother, remains to be seen.
Sources: New York Times, Heise Online, Medical Electronics