Lifesaver How to detect if you have cancer with a smartphone, seriously

This has the power to completely change the way we diagnose illnesses.

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An interesting little product from an interesting company is making this possible. 

John Martin is a doctor in America, but on this day, he didn’t have any patient coming to complain of a discomfort somewhere. Today, he was the one feeling the discomfort in his neck. 

So he took some gel and rubbed it on the part of his neck that was giving him trouble. Then he took this little device he had in his hand — about the size of an electric beard trimmer, and plugged the USB end to his phone. 

When he raised that device to his neck, images started to appear on his phone. This, right here, is an ultrasound. Ultrasound is the technology used in scans, like when doctors are checking on a baby while it’s in the mother’s womb. 

Now, here’s an ultrasound device that can fit into your pocket. 

This device, is called the Butterfly IQ, and this device is built by Butterfly Network, an American Startup. 

The average Ultrasound equipment looks like this, standing on a bedside;

 

But the Butterfly IQ, can fit into your damn pocket. 

But how is does it manage to be so…small?

It’s the technology (duh-uh). The company, which was founded by Jonathan Rothberg, uses semiconductors. 

Basically, it’s “capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers,” or CMUTs, tiny ultrasonic emitters layered on a semiconductor chip a little larger than a postage stamp.”

It took 8 years to take this innovation from concept to market. And talking about market, it won’t be available till early 2018. It will sell for $2,000 a piece. That seems like a lot, but then you realise that this device will be transported easily much more easily than they standard ultrasound equipment, and also cheaper. 

There’s a big picture…

We’re looking at something that has the power to completely transform how doctors and medics use ultrasound.

We spoke to Tosin Afunku, a doctor in Nigeria, about this, and here’s what he said; 

“It’ll be useful because the most use of ultrasound scans in our rural communities is for obstetrics.”

But, he has some skepticism, too. 

“It hasn’t really been tested in mass use yet, and doctors in the US haven’t begun using it. Also, it doesn’t help local health economics when you bring out a small gadget to do many investigations — no matter how life saving.”

This is the Nigerian factor part:

“When patients see a large equipment they likely believe it has more to offer and they should pay more.”

“Those aside, it can potentially make life tremendously easier on saving patients. Reach a diagnosis faster — especially for emergencies, patients have to be moved less to different rooms for different scans. Amongst other factors.”

As you can already tell, it works with an app, and that’s only available on iPhones, for now. We hope they have plans for building one for the Android market, considering Android devices have the largest mobile market share, globally. 

You can watch this video below on how it’s actually put to use. 

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