Credit: Robert Barker/Cornell University Ultrasound machines can cost $20,000 or more and weigh 30 pounds, but not George K. Lewis's ultrasound device. Lewis's portable therapeutic ultrasound machine cost him about $150 to make -- 80 percent of which was spent on the battery -- it fits in the palm of his hand, and it can help treat cancer and relieve arthritis... among other things.
A third-year PhD National Science fellow at Cornell University in biomedical engineering, Lewis authored a paper in the Journal Review of Scientific Instruments that explains how he was able to create a hand-held ultrasound device that succeeds in delivering therapeutic sound waves.
The portable therapeutic ultrasound system comprises a low impedance ultrasound driver, accompanying circuitry, and an ultrasound transducer probe. The actual size of the portable ultrasound device is 4" by 6" by 2"; it weighs 5.5 pounds. Below is the device in its protective plastic cover.
Lewis, and his professor and co-author, William L. Olbricht, demonstrated that the portable ultrasound device had several benefits compared to the larger systems used today. In addition to being simpler and cheaper to produce, the device can be easily transported to remote areas where large ultrasound machines may not be available. Thus, the portable therapeutic ultrasound device has applications for the military as well as for medical and research use. There are also indications that Lewis's invention is actually more effective at delivering appropriate amounts of medicine to the brain than the larger systems.
Professor Olbricht was not just hopeful about Lewis's new medical
device. Olbricht called the implications of his student's invention
Currently the portable therapeutic ultrasound device is being tested in a clinical setting, attempting to minimize injury when tissues do not receive adequate blood flow.
Cornell University Chronicle Online, George K Lewis Student Bio, REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS 79, 114302 (2008), via News-Medical.net
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