Jonathan Rothberg has raised some $100 million to develop a small, portable ultrasound device, Technology Review reports. The device is being developed by Butterfly Network, a company coming out of Rothberg's 4Combinator incubator.
The device, Rothberg tells Tech Review, will cost a few hundred dollars, and allow a technician to examine the results to determine, for instance, whether a fetus has Down syndrome or a cleft lip. Down the line, it adds, it may also be able to deliver heat to destroy cancer cells.
It's based on a new type of ultrasound chip that can create 3D images in real time, providing, the patent application says "what appears to be a window” into, for example, the body.
"Rothberg says his first goal will be to market an imaging system cheap enough to be used even in the poorest corners of the world," Tech Review adds. "He says the system will depend heavily on software, including techniques developed by artificial intelligence researchers, to comb through banks of images and extract key features that will automate diagnoses."