Ultrasound is a safe and effective way to identify pregnancy complications. Unfortunately, ultrasound technology is scarce because of the high cost of the technology.
For two years, I researched and designed for a portable, low cost portable ultrasound device to help decrease maternal death rates in rural Uganda.
Based on research, we built a simplified ultrasound application that utilized an Interson USB probe attached to a netbook. We iterated until radiologists, sonographers, and midwives both in the U.S. and Uganda verified that the device could successfully diagnose the three most common complications.
The device cost was $3,500 using a modular off-the-shelf approach rather than an all-in-one system. We also added an integrated contextual help feature that helped supplement the limited sonography training received by the midwives, helping to answer diagnostic questions when a radiologist isn't available.
I co-authored three academic papers:
Our work broadened the conversation in the medical community about the needs for simplified lower cost medical technology. GE, Philips, and other medical device companies became aware of our work. In addition, our project advisor Beth Kolko started Shift Labs, a company focused on developing low cost medical technology.
For more about this work, please watch this TEDx presentation from Beth Kolko: