Clarius Smart Health: Taking Ultrasound further

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Clarius Smart Health: Taking Ultrasound further

Clarius Smart Health: Despite a century of innovation, the multi-billion dollar ultrasound industry is still dominated by large, clunky, cart-based systems normally found only in clinics. But what if instead of bringing the patient to the machine, you bring the machine to the patient – and for a fraction of the cost?

by Mark McCoy

From the magical to the un imaginable, ultrasound technology gives a real-time glimpse into the human body – without the potential harm from radiation like with X-rays. Contrary to popular belief, ultrasound goes far beyond women’s health and pregnancy follow-ups, which represent less than 20 percent of their overall use in health care. In fact, diagnostic ultrasound is routinely used to diagnose a wide variety of healthcare conditions such as cancer, gall stones, and cardiovascular diseases. Since patient anatomy varies, an ultrasound allows the physician to see under the skin to guide their needle to exactly the right area.

Clarius Smart Health Taking Ultrasound further with Smartphone

Looking deeper: For medical practitioners, the Clarius Wireless Ultrasound Scanner is like a handheld ultrasound stethoscope.

Founded in 2014 by Laurent Pelissier, Clarius Mobile Health in Vancouver has combined advanced ultrasound technology and decades of experience to produce a “point-and-shoot” ultrasound imaging device that fits in a pocket and works with a smartphone.

Pelissier believes that this is just the kind of tech to shake up the $6 billion ultrasound industry. But only if it’s executed to perfection. In the design and prototyping process, Clarius found the small form factor made the already challenging feld of medical device development even more complicated. In an interview with Forbes, Pelissier said: “The digital health industry is at a crossroads where rapid progress in consumer technology is facilitating significant efficiencies in the development of medical device and health IT technologies. Whether through miniaturization, ease of use, or connectivity – companies are leveraging mainstream technology to improve the way healthcare is delivered.”

Clarius Smart Health Taking Ultrasound further Outdoor

Quality images: Handheld ultrasound scanners can mean the difference between life and death for frst responders and emergency doctors. Smart Health helps.

“In the very beginning, we were having a lot of issues with the product heating up too quickly, for example. We did a lot of back and forth with the technical team at Avnet about how to manage the power properly,” says Daniel Rahardja, a Clarius engineer. “Avnet defnitely gave us a lot of invaluable support, not just from a bill of material point of view, but technical expertise about products.”

Once they began ruggedizing the scanner with a waterproof metal enclosure, the designers ran into even more challenges. That’s where the support of an end-to-end distributor really came in handy. “In building this kind of technology, what helps is direct factory contacts. To have that exposure and knowledge, to talk to the guy who actually designed the chip, that all helps our design move much more quickly,” says Kwun-Keat Chan, director of hardware development at Clarius.

Avnet introduced Clarius to Xilinx’s Zynq All Programmable SoC and the development team behind its design. Clarius was able to leverage this component to enable key analytics and hardware acceleration. “To make this product viable, feasible, and sellable, the price of the component and especially the Xilinx system was critical,” he says.

Clarius Wireless Ultrasound Scanners are now available across the world, being used everywhere from Canadian ski resorts for on-the-go diagnoses to Haitian villages for Zika studies with newborns.

But the ultimate goal of the scanners is clear. “Where every medical practitioner has their own stethoscope now, in the future we want every medical practitioner to have their own handheld ultrasound,” Rahardja says. “That’s the dream: a product that’s like your visual stethoscope.”

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