An award winning device created by two Imperial College London bioengineering PhD students is making ultrasound technology portable and much more accessible.
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Many communities around the world rely on donated healthcare equipment, which often consists of machines in the last years of their life, making them potentially less effective and efficient. Having seen firsthand how particularly remote communities struggle to access healthcare, particularly the most up-to-date equipment and medicines, two bioengineering PhD students from Imperial College London created a miniature ultrasound device that is the size of a pen. The team is already planning to continue shrinking the design until it is the size of an easily-swallowable chip.
The students co-founded Microsonix, a business currently focusing on the production of low-cost, miniaturized imaging devices. The small size of the device, combined with ease of production, is making potentially life-saving ultrasound imaging available to communities who previously were unable to afford traditional machines and those who live in terrain too difficult to transport large machines to. The device won Imperial Enterprise Lab’s 2017 Venture Catalyst Challenge, which comes with a GBP 10,000 prize to help bring the winning idea to market.
Miniaturization is having a sizeable impact on the healthcare industry, with everything from drug-releasing implants to a malaria-diagnosing smartphone app improving care in myriad ways. In what ways could such innovation be adapted specifically for elder care?