Designing and open source and low-cost ultrasound probe
Ultrasound probes, also known as echo-stethoscopes, are used for non-invasive innocuous medical diagnostics in hospitals. echOpen community is developing the first low-cost open source ultrasound imaging probe. By this initiative, the community aims to democratize this valuable tool by making it more affordable, spreading its availability to health professionals in general medicine and medically deprived areas.
echOpen community has subdivided the project into multiple tasks, or ‘challenges’, to facilitate contributions from multidisciplinary collaborators. The hardware consist of a console to control the pulse sequence and the data communication, a transducer to convert the electric signals into pressure waves and the other way around, a servomotor to vary the position of the transducer and cover a determined field of view, power electronics that drive the transducer and low noise signal amplification and digitalization elements. The software consists of a mobile app responsible for the configuration of imaging parameters, and reconstruction and visualization of acquired images.
The echOpen initiative is raising interest which is reflected by the 200+ contributors (1/3 of which are health professionals), the 850+ participants in events, and the awards they have been granted already with their first prototype. This prototype, called ‘Emile’, has been able to obtain echographic images in water, and is providing collaborators of a test bench for further developments. The echOpen community is currently working on redesigning the ultrasound probe to bring it at the level of medical imaging quality standards.
Hotel-Dieu Hospital, Paris, France