Who

Doctors, nurses, hospitals, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals; and consumers.

What

The iQ is a low-cost handheld scanner that generates clinical-quality ultrasounds on a smartphone. Ultrasounds are uploaded to the cloud, where any expert with permission can give second opinions or help analyze images. iQ plugs into an iPhone lightning jack, putting an entire ultrasound system on a chip. It has U.S. FDA clearance for 13 clinical applications, and sells for about $2,000. It integrates stacks of capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducers — basically, metal plates suspended between two electrodes — directly on a chip. From this, chips were created with roughly 9,000 transducer channels that, combined with electronics, could send out and receive sound waves and turn those waves into 3D ultrasound images.

Butterfly Network, a startup co-founded by an MIT alumnus, developed a low-cost, handheld scanner that generates clinical-quality ultrasounds on a smartphone. (Courtesy of Butterfly Network)

Where

Butterfly Network (an MIT startup), New York, NY

When

iQ is currently available for sale in the U.S. The company is in talks with nonprofits, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to bring it to the developing world.

Why

iQ is the first universal ultrasound device that can image an entire body. It intersects semiconductor engineering, artificial intelligence, and the cloud, and aims to make ultrasound imaging as simple and ubiquitous as blood-pressure or temperature checks — in hospitals and, eventually, in consumers’ homes.

The startup aims to make ultrasound imaging as simple and ubiquitous as blood-pressure or temperature checks — in hospitals and, eventually, in consumers’ homes — to help healthcare professionals more quickly generate lifesaving diagnoses. (Courtesy of Butterfly Network)

Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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