Portable Ultrasound Device Ushers in a New Generation of Medical Device Patents
We are living in an age of disruption with the medical device sector on the verge of being seismically altered with the next wave of phone-enabled applications that include a handheld ultrasound probe from Butterfly Networks that offers a radical new future for the way we treat patients with cancer or knee injuries.
We cannot understate the dramatic opportunities available to medical device inventors who follow in this startup’s path which promises to drastically reduce the price of medical imaging and usher in a new area of commodity products driven by Artificial Intelligence hidden in the cloud.
Shipping is expected to being shortly for the FDA-cleared device that hooks into your iPhone for around $2,000 or less and will power cardiac scans, osteopathic analysis, fetal and obstetric exams.
While currently only available to the iPhone, the device will quickly appear on Android devices once the market sucks in the value of this portable device which puts patient care directly into the hands of a doctor rather than giant, centralized MRI scanning centers which are far more expensive in terms of time and dollars.
The startup absorbed over $100 million in funding several years ago, using the capital to develop automation that drives the MRI and Ultrasound process. Future markets include retail pharmacies and poorer regions of the world where the mobile revolution is in full swing.
Mark Cuban once commented on the shark tank that he hates working with serial entrepreneurs because they may split their attention and energy over several projects.
However, the man behind Butterfly IQ, Jonathan Rothberg perhaps shows the powerful ingenuity that comes with this approach having launched five startups in the healthcare sector, two of which he sold for more than $500 million in the broader biotech and semiconductor industry. We ran a feature story on Rothberg’s patent achievements in medicine on our parent site, The Patent Professor.com
While there is a hype cycle around this device which has taken the medical device sector by storm, there is strong evidence to support its glowing reviews. One medical doctor purportedly self-diagnosed a cancerous tumor with the portable ultrasound device which reflects just how powerful this technology is.
“I felt something funny in my neck, I connected the probe to my iPhone, did an ultrasound and there it was – my tumor,” said John Martin, Chief Medical Officer for Butterfly iQ.
The device offers a path to accelerated diagnosis at lower costs, giving patients a greater shot at life-saving treatments or medical protocols. If the device sounds like science fiction consider the next evolution in technology envisaged by its creator:
“In the next two years we’ll release a patch that uses ultrasound to monitor patients, and a pill you can swallow to look at cancer from within the body,” said Rothberg in a recent IEEE article.
Indeed one of the several patents attached this medical device describes, “ An ingestible ultrasound device includes an electronic circuit assembly, including a plurality of ultrasonic transducers and control circuitry configured to control the plurality of ultrasonic transducers to generate and/or detect ultrasound signals; and an encapsulating medium that encapsulates the electronic circuit assembly”.
We look forward to helping inventors protect and profit from their inventions in the portable ultrasound and MRI device sector over the next few years.