Portable antenatal ultrasound platform for village midwives

Waylon Brunette, Wayne Gerard, Matthew A. Hicks, Alexis Hope, Mitchell Ishimitsu, Pratik Prasad, Ruth E. Anderson, Gaetano Borriello, Beth E. Kolko, Robert Nathan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

20 Scopus citations


Ultrasound imaging is an effective tool for identifying maternal mortality risk factors. Unfortunately, ultrasound is nearly absent in many rural healthcare facilities in developing regions due to the high costs of both equipment and required training. To leverage existing healthcare systems commonly found in these contexts, we have focused our efforts on increasing the diagnostic capabilities of midwives - often central medical figures in rural and low-income communities. We have designed and built a low-cost portable ultrasound device consisting of a USB ultrasound probe and a touchscreen netbook for a total cost of around USD3500. Compared to currently available ultrasound devices, we simplified the user interface while maintaining functionality to allow midwives to detect three common obstetrical conditions: placenta previa, multiple gestations, and breech presentation. To evaluate our solution, we tested the accuracy of ultrasound measurements, image quality, and whether midwives could use ultrasound. Testing performed by nine clinicians indicated our device would be appropriate for identifying the three conditions. Our modular design approach allows for easy modification, and the device is designed to utilize existing local healthcare resources in order to create a sustainable solution that does not depend on continuous foreign assistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Dec 17 2010Dec 18 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010


Conference1st ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, DEV 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • HCI
  • ICTD
  • Maternal mortality
  • Medical device design
  • Midwives
  • Mobile diagnostic devices
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications


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