One of the modern marvels in our medical toolkit is ultrasound imaging. One of its drawbacks, however, is that it displays 2D images. How expensive do you think it would be to retrofit an ultrasound machine to produce 3D images? Try a $10 chip and pennies worth of plastic.
While — of all things — playing the Wii with his son, [Joshua Broder, M.D], an emergency physician and associate professor of surgery at [Duke Health], realized he could port the Wii’s gyroscopic sensor to ultrasound technology. He did just that with the help of [Matt Morgan, Carl Herickhoff and Jeremy Dahl] from [Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering] and [Stanford University]. The team mounted the sensor onto the side of the probe with a 3D printed collar. This relays the orientation data to the computer running software that sutures the images together into a complete 3D image in near real-time, turning a $50,000 ultrasound machine into its $250,000 equivalent.
[Dr. Broder] is eager to point out that it compares to MRI and CT imaging in quality, but with fewer issues: it reduces error in interpreting the images, and makes advanced imaging available in rural or developing areas. This is also useful when MRIs and CTs are risky due to medical history or for newborn children, and in critical situations where prep for an MRI or CT would take too much time.
[Thanks for the tip, Kevin Qes Huang!]