Your iPhone Could Become A Medical Tricorder

Illustration for article titled Your iPhone Could Become A Medical Tricorder

Any smart phone can become a medical imaging scanner, performing biopsies and imaging scans on the fly, with the help of a small USB plug-in, say researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.


The researchers, led by Associate Professor William Richard and researcher David Zar, have developed technology that makes your smartphone compatible with commercial USB ultrasound probes. That would allow you to use your phone for "imaging kidneys, liver, bladder and eyes, prostate and uterine screenings and biopsies, as well as using vascular probes for imaging veins and arteries for starting IVs and central lines," according to United Press International.

Said Richard:

You can carry around a probe and cell phone and image on the fly now. Imagine having these smart phones in ambulances and emergency rooms. On a larger scale, this kind of cell phone is a complete computer that runs Windows.

Oh, it needs to run Windows. Oh well. In any case, the researchers hope the technology will help people in remote areas of the developing world to have more access to scans. Plus they can use the scans to send data to a centralized area, on the other side of the world, where the experts can make a diagnosis. But it's also one step closer to small hand-held medical diagnostic devices, like Dr. McCoy's salt shakers.


Stephan Zielinski

Hey, interpreting the results of medical imaging is easy-peasy, right? What's it take to become a radiologist these days— two weeks, three?

Still, that the probes themselves are coming down in price is interesting.


claims one William D. Richard has gotten it to this point: ". . . the USB probes developed by Richard sell for a few thousand dollars." I'd want to ask an actual radiologist if they're any good, of course.