Well, not quite... but pretty close:
What features do you look for in a cellphone? Camera? GPS? 3G? Ultrasound? Technically the GE Vscan is not a cellphone, but it certainly resembles any old lamshell on the market today. Instead, the Vscan a pocket-sized ultrasound intended to reduce the amount of patient referrals (and thereby expenses) by making ultrasounds convenient enough to be performed in-house (and by house, we mean individual doctor's offices, not your house...yet).A few thoughts:
I can't speak to the healthcare logistics at work, but I do know that moms love seeing photos of kids on their cellphones. Now if only this bad boy were linked to Picasa we'd really have something. [GE Reports]
1) Incredible Engineering: The engineer shown in the video has every right to be proud of this technology. It is incredibly impressive and portends what more medical devices will likely become in the future -- cheap, portable, easy to use, and reliable. Add a few more features to this device such as thermal sensors, heart rate detection, a way to record blood pressure, and perhaps blood analysis through the skin -- and you're not that far off from the medical tricorders on Star Trek. This is a fantastic advance.
2) Potential Misuse: I linked to an article earlier this week about how son-preference and gender-specific abortions in parts of Asia were leading to significant gender imbalances in India and China. (And in certain subgroups in the US.) I can't help but think that this type of technology may exacerbate that problem in certain parts of the world... once it becomes cheap and simple enough.