Doctor Tested out His Own Cancer with the iPhone Based Ultrasound Machine

A small electric razor sized device, connected with iPhone can detect cancer! Yes it sounds like a clickbait, but it’s true. The new invention is called Butterfly IQ. It is a razor sized scanner, which when paired with the iPhone device, displays black and white image of the body.

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Connecticut-based start-up Butterfly Network captures echoes by shooting sound inside the body. The Butterfly IQ uses 9000 tiny drums that’s etched onto a semiconductor chip. It is called “capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers” or CMUTs. It is tiny ultrasonic emitters that are layered on a semiconductor chip.

John Martin is a US based vascular surgeon cum chief medical officer at the Butterfly Network. He himself discovered a cancerous mass in his own throat. Martin was starting to feel uncomfortable by the feeling of thickness inside his throat. He was worried and hence oozed out some gel and then he ran the probe along his neck. The device was connected with his iPhone and it detected some black and gray images on the screen. He discovered a 3 cm mass that is later on diagnosed as sqamous-cell cancer. It’s a type of skin cancer that is developed in the cells of the outer layer of the skin. Martin said on Butterfly Network’s website, “I felt something funny in my neck, connected the probe to my phone, did an ultrasound, and there it was: My tumor”

The average price of ultrasound systems is $ 115000 and low end systems costing $ 25000. But the Butterfly IQ sells the device in $ 2000. Most of the technologies of Butterfly IQ is housed within a microchip and that’s the reason why its price are much lower than the other ultrasound machines.

Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, founder and chairman of Butterfly Network said, “Just as putting a camera on a semiconductor chip made photography accessible to anyone with a smartphone and putting a computer a chip enabled the revolution in personal computing before that, Butterfly’s Ultrasound-on-a-Chip technology enables a low-cost window into the human body, making high-quality diagnostic imaging accessible to anyone”

The company is also planning to combine artificial intelligence software which can help collect right images and interpret them.

By 2018, the company is expecting to make a high-tech device thatcan let users calculate how much blood is getting pumped and detect problems like aortic aneurisms.


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