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Bioscience Innovator Finds Capital to Create Breakthrough “Ultrasound-on-a-Chip” Device that Promises Next Generation Healthcare

A hand held imaging device that can see real-time, moving, 3-D images of the inner workings of an organism, much like an ultrasound device, only faster and much more accurate, just got fuel for its next stage of development as Jonathan Rothberg raised $100 million to see this device to completion.

Jonathan Rothberg is a biosciences entrepreneur who has been up to a lot of innovation since initiating five startups, including, 454 and Ion Torrent Systems which he sold for more than $500 million, reports the MIT Technology Review.

With a lot of experience in working with semi-conductors, Mr. Rothberg intends to create something “as cheap as a stethoscope” and will “make doctors 100 times as effective.” The patent documents describe the device as being based on a new kind of ultrasound chip, which in the near future might devise new cancer treatment or non-invasive surgical methods.

Essentially a device which has ultrasound emitters etched directly onto a semiconductor wafer, alongside circuits and processors, it is dubbed a “capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers,” or CMUTs. Mr. Rothberg sees future in mining medical data silos for images and then utilizing AI techniques to glean useful insight from them, VentureBeat reports.

Carrying out this plan-of-action is his incubator 4Combinator, which he set up to start and finance companies that combine medical sensors with deep learning. Butterfly Network, a three-year old outfit, founded by Rothberg and a group of physicists and engineers from MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories, is developing the imaging system.

“The details will come out when we are on stage selling it. That’s in the next 18 months,” Mr. Rothberg said about the specifics of the device which he promises ‘will be small, cost a few hundred dollars, connect to a phone, and be able to do things like diagnose breast cancer or visualize a fetus.’

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