Startup Signostics got approval Tuesday (May 19) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ship what it claims is the world’s smallest ultrasound device. The company describes its pocket-sized, half-pound Signos that sells for about $4,000 as a visual stethoscope and hopes it will someday become as omnipresent as the signature doctor’s tool. Signos was created by brothers Neil and Stewart Bartlett, a doctor and engineer respectively in Adelaide, Australia.
Signostics’ engineers decided to use just one crystal paired with a silicon gyroscope instead of a mechanical arm. The gyro keeps track of the crystal’s position to form an image as a doctor moves the device over an area of interest. Signostics designed separate 3.5 and 7.5 MHz transducers into a quarter-sized caps that screw on to the tip of a probe. Thus caps with different frequency crystals for different types of scans can be easily switched. Competing systems use separate probes for different frequencies. The Signos delivers a 240×320 pixel image on its 41×55 mm display. It runs continuously for about 90 minutes on a rechargeable lithium-based battery, enough to power the device for use on a typical eight-hour shift.
“A lot of physicians see this and say, ‘you’ve cracked the Holy Grail for the visual stethoscope,’” said Bartlett.
I agree with the Brothers Bartlett. This could very well be the Holy Grail.
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