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Device Allows Smartphones to Capture and Display ­ltrasound Images


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smartphone showing ultrasound image

Researchers believe the ultrasound image shown on this smartphone is sufficient for many medical applications.

David Kilper / WUSTL Photo

Washington University in St. Louis computer engineers have developed an ultrasound device that can be plugged directly into a smartphone's USB port. The device enables smartphones to capture images and display them directly on the phone's screen. The phone also can be used to send the images to other users.

Washington University researchers William Richard and David Zar created the smartphone device from an ultrasound probe they previously developed that can plug into a laptop's USB port. The researchers transferred all of the necessary computing power to the probe and decreased its power consumption to only half a watt. The image the device creates is smaller and of a lower quality than the laptop version, but the researchers believe that it is more than sufficient for many medical applications. The researchers say it could be used in remote rural communities and developing nations, as well as for emergency imaging of patients en route to a hospital. They also say it could be used for battlefield medicine and for home use by patients with chronic illnesses. Zar plans to have open source software available this summer.

From Technology Review
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