Even Ultrasound Machines Are Becoming Tablets

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viamo ultrasound tablet
Toshiba's pregnant, and guess what, it's a tablet!

From the iPad to the Slate, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger Tablet, and that’s even true in medicine. Toshiba Medical’s latest ultrasound machine is a convertible tablet that can either be controlled via traditional knobs and dials or through a 15 inch touchscreen. The Viamo hosts much of the same functionality as TM’s larger ultrasound devices including embedded image processing (pulse subtraction, etc) and programmable routines and settings. It even comes with a mobile stand for those times when you need both your hands free. When you’re done with your scan, you can just pick up the Viamo and take it with you. In short, Toshiba has taken the kind of versatility and mobility we’ve come to expect from tablet platforms and placed it in the hands of a doctor. Awesome.

The Viamo originally debuted at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) last year and is now reaching for major sales. I’m not sure how it will stack up against traditional ultrasound machines, but considering its capabilities, you’ve got to expect hospitals and doctors will want the smaller more portable device. Not that the Viamo is the smallest ultrasound we’ve seen, GE has a handheld model it debuted at the end of last year. Viamo, however, has a large screen with full color – essentially what practitioners work with now. Still, no matter if the medical industry goes towards the tablet or mobile phone model for its ultrasounds, it’s definitely going to shrink the size of these machines. Automatic defibrillators are also getting smaller. One wonders how long it will take to get all of these standard medical devices into the same all-in-one kit the size of a laptop. A hundred years ago, doctors would carry all they needed in a single bag. We could be there again very soon.

viamo tablet stands
The Viamo folds to form a touchscreen tablet, or unfolds for a laptop look. The stand is optional in either configuration
viamo ultrasound tablet
Here's a better view of the Viamo as a laptop.

[image credits: Toshiba Medical]