USB ultrasound device about Size of a PC Mouse

A USB ultrasound device about Size of a PC Mouse, which is being pegged as a 'Cheap USB ultrasound ready for developing world', has the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of women and children in developing world, say its developers.

The USB ultrasound device about the size of a computer mouse, can be manufactured for as little as $50 (UK30), says Co-developer Jeff Neasham, from Newcastle University (UK). Jeff is an expert in underwater sonar technology and has previously developed systems for imaging the seabed (looking for shipwrecks or specific geographical features) as well as underwater communications and tracking systems. His expertise in sonar signal processing helped in keeping the manufacturing cost of the USB ultrasound that low. Notably, a conventional low cost scanner, one's used in many clinics, costs 20,000 GBP in UK.

How the device works:

The hand-held USB ultrasound device works in a similar way to existing ultrasound scanners, using pulses of high frequency sound to build up a picture of the unborn child on the computer screen. Its output power is 10-100 times lower than conventional hospital ultrasounds but the image quality produced is still of great utility to medical workers.

Usefulness of the Device:

In poorer parts of the world, mostly comprising the developing countries, childbirth is a dangerous event for both infant and mother. UN statistics estimate more than 250,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, almost all of them - 99 percent - in developing countries.

A Worry:

In countries like India and China, which are known to be biased towards their daughters; the cheap ultrasound device has ample scope of misuse; resulting in the murder of more daughters. Many fathers in these countries are not human enough to protect their unborn girls.


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