Smartphone-based ultrasound machine can detect cancer

Smartphone-based ultrasound machine can detect cancer

Scientists have developed a novel smartphone-based portable ultrasound machine that can help detect cancer easily at home.

The machine called Butterfly IQ is a pocket-sized ultrasound device which is the size and shape of an electric razor.

Researchers from Butterfly Network, a US-based startup, developed the device that works by shooting sound waves into the body and capturing the echoes.

Usually, the sound waves are generated by a vibrating crystal. However, this machine uses 9,000 tiny drums etched onto a semiconductor chip, 'MIT Technology Review' reported.

Earlier this year, John Martin, chief medical officer at Butterfly Network, discovered a cancerous mass in his own throat while testing the device.

Martin had been having an uncomfortable feeling of thickness in his throat. He used the device, which was connected to his smartphone, to obtain black-and grey images.

He found a three centimetre mass that was diagnosed as squamous-cell cancer - a form of skin cancer that develops in the cells of the outer layer of the skin.

"The device gives you the ability to do everything at the bedside: you can pull it out of your pocket and scan the whole body," Martin said.

"To look at this as just an ultrasound device is like looking at an iPhone and saying it is just a phone. If you have a window into the body where anyone can afford it, everyone can use it, and everyone can interpret it, it becomes a heck of a lot more than an ultrasound device," he added.

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