When the Ultrasound Technology Meets the iPhone

Did you know that the average American uses their phone for 2.75 hours a day, which translates into 82.5 hours a month? Or, that a recent statistic shows that 39% of US adults between the ages of 18 -29 are online almost constantly. Better yet, another study found that 25% of Americans spend more than 7 hours a day on their phone. “So, what does this have to do with ultrasounds?” you might ask. Actually, more than one might realize.

In the past few months, there have been many advancements in ultrasound technology, but perhaps one of the most impressive is the use of ultrasound with an iPhone. While this type of technology is not extremely new (experimentation began in 2017), there have been several upgrades and advancements that have made this approach even more practical. This month, engineers at the University of British Columbia developed a new ultrasound transducer that is portable, wearable and powered by a smartphone. Better yet, this probe could dramatically lower the cost of the ultrasound scanners to as little as $100 making the use of ultrasound practical for virtually every type of healthcare facility.

This new style of ultrasound is created using a tiny vibrating drums of polymer resin, which are less expensive than traditional ultrasound components but equally effective. In addition, because this smaller ultrasound probe – touted as being no larger than a Band-Aid – it is more suitable for use in low power locations or even in the event of an emergency where a power source is minimal.

Better, due to the materials being used, the transducer can even be designed to be stored in a flexible material. This material can actually be wrapped around one’s body, thus making the scanning process even easier and with more detailed views. In fact, some of the engineer team is experimenting to see if the transducers could be miniaturized even more, so that it would be possible to look inside one’s arteries and veins, which would go a long way towards treating heart issues or related concerns.

But the UBC is not the only team to have worked to minimize the size of the transducer while increasing the potential of ultrasound technology and application. The Butterfly Network, founded by Johnathan Rothberg, has crafted a new device called the iQ, that use artificial intelligence and a smartphone to allow one to perform an ultrasound.  The design works with an iPhone’s lightening jack and the downloadable app and has been cleared for 13 clinical applications. It is currently only cleared for use by those in the medical field, but designers look forward to the day when the average citizen can take more control of identifying a health concern.

So, the next time you realize you spend a great deal of time on your smartphone – don’t despair. These ultrasound advancements are proof that the phone is so much more than just entertainment or communication devices! In fact, they can be quite useful and in ways we never imagined!

If you have questions about your current office’s ultrasound equipment, be sure to give us a call today. After all, the iPhone ultrasound might not be in every office, and that means you still need to be sure your office has the best possible ultrasound technology available. Contact the National Ultrasound team today.