APPLE DESIGN AWARDS
The Butterfly iQ Effect
The handheld ultrasound is nothing short of a revolution.
Butterfly iQ — Ultrasound
One probe, whole body imaging.
Butterfly iQ is the winner of a 2019 Apple Design Award, which recognizes the creative artistry and technical achievements of developers who reflect the best in design, innovation, and technology on Apple platforms.
Medical terminology gets pretty complex, but Butterfly iQ can be described in six words: ultrasound on your iPad and iPhone.
This whole-body ultrasound system is CE-approved, FDA-cleared, and a total game-changer. When the app is coupled with the accompanying wand, it enables mobile ultrasounds anywhere. AR and machine learning guide health care professionals in the wand’s use, and an uncluttered UI allows for one-handed operation. Images can be uploaded to a secure cloud for remote review by a medical expert—or elated family members.
Here Matt de Jonge, head of product for Butterfly iQ, introduces us to the new world of ultrasound technology.
Today, 4.7 billion people around the world lack access to medical imaging. Even in the developed world, access hasn’t improved since the 1970s. We’ve put an ultrasound system on a chip that users operate via our iOS app.
It was a big challenge to take an ultrasound machine—traditionally a large piece of hardware with lots of knobs and dials—and whittle it down to a simple interface that doctors could easily operate with one hand (the other hand holds our device).
By way of example, one of the most basic operations in ultrasound imaging is deciding how deep you want to look into the body. Traditionally this is done via depth buttons on a large ultrasound cart. With Butterfly iQ, if you want to look deeper into the body, you pull more of the anatomy into view with a swipe gesture. If you want to look shallower, you pull some anatomy off the screen so only the top of the image (closest to the surface of the skin) remains.
Imaging the heart is technically and computationally demanding. The first time we got cardiac imaging up and running, it was a very proud day. And a few weeks after we launched, one of our physician customers used Butterfly iQ to find a 99 percent blockage in his father’s left anterior descending artery, saving his life.
It’s a privilege to build tools for doctors and health care practitioners who have committed their lives to caring for others. Our users are already heroes. We get to give them superpowers.