UBC researchers join with partners to develop portable ultrasound scanner network for COVID-19

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Incoming 2020 Wall Scholar Purang Abolmaesumi (Electrical and Computer Engineering) is collaborating with other researchers and local partners to establish a network of portable, handheld ultrasound scanners th­at can soon accelerate COVID-19 diagnosis.

The project is co-lead by Purang Abolmaesumi, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Dr. Oron Frenkel, an emergency physician at St. Paul’s Hospital and a clinical assistant professor at UBC’s faculty of medicine; Dr. Teresa Tsang, UBC cardiologist and professor of medicine and director of echocardiography at Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital; and Robert Rohling, professor of electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering.

The scanners pair a locally developed ultrasound device with a secure online library of lung ultrasound images and a specially developed artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, allowing health care practitioners to diagnose COVID-19 at the point of care—almost instantly.

During his term as a Peter Wall Scholar, Abolmaesumi plans to engage a transdisciplinary group of scholars to seek breakthrough innovations in AI research and applications.