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This $2,000 ultrasound scanner makes medical imaging affordable and portable

The Butterfly iQ runs on an iPhone app, and can transmit images over cellular networks to connect doctors to patients in remote areas.

Until recently, if you needed an ultrasound scan, it meant a trip to a hospital or a specialist’s office with an expensive, stand-alone machine. That’s changing, thanks to a new device called the Butterfly iQ—a $2,000 smartphone-connected imager that puts the ultrasound right into doctors’ hands. Approved by the FDA in October 2017 for 13 clinical applications (including obstetric, lung, and cardiac imaging), the device’s pioneering ultrasound-on-a-chip technology was developed by Dr. Jonathan M. Rothberg, who sequenced the first individual human genome and invented the low-cost Ion Torrent DNA sequencer (which was acquired by Life Technologies for $725 million in 2010). He spent five years developing the Butterfly scanner, which started shipping to physicians and hospitals last fall. Here’s how this portable scanner could transform healthcare.

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