Have you ever had an MRI or ultrasound? Did it take ages to get an appointment? Introducing Butterfly Network Inc, which has recently launched a new piece of machinery that will hopefully make ultrasounds and MRIs cheaper, smarter and faster. The handheld medical-imaging device has $100 million in funding. Aeris Capital and Jonathan Rothberg are just a few of its investors. Rothberg’s 4 Combinator startup medical technology incubator has Butterfly as its first company.
Rothberg has stated that Butterfly’s device will “replace a room of imaging equipment that costs $2 million to $6 million dollars, and takes eight seconds to acquire an image. We can do 30 to 60 times more per second, and be 10 times more precise in how we direct the energy.” That’s pretty amazing stuff!
Rothberg has also made DNA sequencing much more affordable and accessible and hopes this device will do the same for MRIs and ultrasounds.
Compared to the millions of dollars spent on medical equipment, Butterfly’s device will cost only hundreds of dollars. They are hoping to launch the device within 18 months after they receive development and regulatory approval.
These machines will be put on a dedicated integrated circuit and different professionals from various fields (such as astronomers who work on creating high-resolution pictures of the universe) will test the machine and work out kinks in the armour with fresh eyes and resources.
After analysing many images, Rothberg wants to see if Butterfly can use deep learning. Deep learning is an AI approach that refines features like speech recognition by replicating neural networks in order to manipulate large amounts of data. The hope is to use this deep learning and apply it to the medical field. This could mean diagnosing and researching patients without ever having to operate.
Rothberg wants to incorporate the technology community in hopes of making his plans come true. “Goldman Sachs and Google get all the resumes,” he stated. “I want people to know they can come and build devices that could affect the life of someone you love.”
[image via swiss-image.ch Photo by Sebastian Derungs]