Inside the Collection

World’s smallest ultrasound machine on display

Signos pocket-sized ultrasound system
Signos pocket-sized ultrasound system by Design+Industry and Signostics. Image courtesy of Signostics.

The world’s smallest ultrasound machine is now on display in the Australian International Design Awards exhibition. The Signos Pocket Sized ultrasound system uses high frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. It weighs in at only 300 grams and is the size of a mobile phone.

Doctors in emergency care or remote locations can use it to examine patients quickly and easily. The high resolution screen shows images instantly, and the inbuilt microphone allows doctors to record notes.

Doctor with Signos pocket-sized ultrasound system
Signos pocket-sized ultrasound system by Design+Industry and Signostics. Image courtesy of Signostics.

The Signos is of particular benefit in emergency medicine. It can be worn around the neck like a stethoscope and provides quick scanning and triaging of patients. It can detect internal fluids or trauma or the presence of a heartbeat. The device has potential for use in rural and remote areas where larger, more expensive machines are not available. It is also being used in veterinary applications.

Developed by Adelaide-based Signostics and Sydney/Melbourne-based Design+Industry, the device has been approved for use in the USA, Australia and Europe. Signostics has its global sales and marketing in Silicon Valley, California.

The Signos Pocket Sized ultrasound received the Powerhouse Museum Design Award at the Australian International Design Awards ceremony for its potential to make a significant improvement to the quality of the environment, health or wellbeing. It also received an Australian International Design Award in 2010.

Australians were instrumental in developing ultrasound technology in the 1970s, and the Museum holds one of the orignal UI Octoson machines  in the collection.

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