If you ever watched an episode of Star Trek and wondered when we were going to finally get our hands on some cool medical gadgets like the tricorder, you will be happy to know that a primitive version already exists. Researchers knew that current medical scanners were too bulky and expensive to reach their full potential. So, in order to remedy the situation, they developed a simple portable scanner that can be plugged into a standard mobile phone. The phones would send the raw data to remote processors, which would interpret that data and relay it as a image that is viewable on the mobile phone screen.
The result is a medical scanner that is ultra-portable and inexpensive enough to make an impact in developing countries. Tests have also determined that the amount of data sent should not prove problematic for the system. In fact, the size of the data in a recent study amounted to less than 6 kilobytes. That having been said, the researchers behind the project hope to go a step further and couple ultrasound scanners with mobile phones, which could potentially reduce the cost of a typical US$70,000 machine to US$1000 or less. Ultrasounds for everyone! [LiveScience]