Butterfly iQ – a $2,000 a hand-held ultrasound scanner to diagnose early-stage pneumonia

Just read this NY Times article on Butterfly iQ – a $2,000 a hand-held ultrasound scanner device that fits in a coat pocket and portable like a stethoscope is used in the diagnosis of early-stage pneumonia. We need more inventors like Dr. William Cherniak from Butterfly Network for helping realize one aspect of the accessible and affordable healthcare for all.

Source: https://www.butterflynetwork.com/

Apparently what the invention here is that there will be no need for multiple probes as the Butterfly iQ’s single probe delivers a 2D array of 9000 micro-machined sensors emulating any type of transducer – linear, curved or phased.They made this portable and affordable by using an Ultrasound-on-Chip technology that replaces the traditional transducer system with a single silicon chip, leveraging the same silicon manufacturing as consumer devices. That means – one probe for the whole body ultrasound. What it also helps with is it last longer as it is designed with both a built-in battery and wireless charging, therefore offering over two hours of scanning.

And on top of all this, what it does is captures images on their mobile phone app, and will help doctors and healthcare workers pull patient information from their worklist and send studies to the secure Butterfly Cloud within seconds for further sharing and collaboration.

Investment and Finance in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies – ESG Vs SRI Vs Impact Investment

I recently started a Certification course on “Unlocking Investment and Finance in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs)” issued by the The World Bank Group . I will start to blog on the topic a bit on my course learnings and my own views.

I have been previously raising with 2 colleagues Finland’s first Impact VC fund called Vault Impact and also am producing the InnoFrugal conference since 2015. For the first 2 editions, the conference focused very much on frugal innovations with perspectives from Academics, R&D, State Innovation & Development Agencies and Businesses. Then I began to see a lot of startups coming up in the field and doing impact solutions with their solutions directly contributing to the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). And it also became clear to me the importance of finance and investments not just from traditional banks, development agencies etc but increasingly of impact investors. These new investors are either doing their investments under the ESG Investments (Environmental Social and Governance) or the SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) and or directly Impact Investing with more or less adhering to one or more of the 17 UN SDGs.

There seem to be various schematic representations but the below one from Western Asset nicely illustrates ESG Vs SRI Vs Impact Investing.

(Source: https://www.westernasset.com/us/en/research/whitepapers/esg-essentials-what-you-need-to-know-2018-04.cfm)

MIT Tata Center Researchers Unveil Inexpensive Way To Reduce Runoff Pollution By Adding Low Cost Polymers To Pesticide Spray

Source: http://tatacenter.mit.edu/
Source: http://tatacenter.mit.edu/

MIT researchers have found a way to make pesticides stick to leaves instead of bouncing off thereby reducing runoff pollution by using a clever combination of two inexpensive additives to the spray.


The spray is divided into two portions, each receiving a different polymer substance. One gives the solution a negative electric charge; the other causes a positive charge. When two of the oppositely-charged droplets meet on a leaf surface, they form a hydrophilic (water attracting) “defect” that sticks to the surface and increases the retention of further droplets.

The project was developed in collaboration with the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design, which aims to develop technologies that can benefit communities in India as well as throughout the developing world. Spraying of pesticides there is typically done manually with tanks carried on farmers’ backs, and since the cost of pesticides can be a significant part of a farmer’s budget, reducing the amount that’s wasted could improve the overall economics of the small-farming business, while also reducing soil and water pollution. Decreasing the amount of pesticide sprayed can also reduce the exposure of farmers to the spray chemicals.

Based on the laboratory tests, the team estimates that the new system could allow farmers to get the same effects by using only 1/10 as much of the pesticide or other spray. And the polymer additives themselves are natural and biodegradable, so will not contribute to the runoff pollution.

The new approach would require only minor changes to the existing equipment that farmers use, to separate the pesticide into two streams to which small amounts of each polymer could be added. The polymers themselves are extracted from common, low-cost materials that could be produced locally.


In addition to pesticide spraying, the same approach could be useful in other applications, such as the spraying of water onto plants to prevent frost damage in places like Florida, where citrus crops can be severely damaged by frost but water supplies are already constrained.

Impact Recommendations- Impact investor Julia Balandina Jaquier & Sherryl Kuhlman, Managing Director, Wharton Social Impact Initiative

When I think of Frugal Innovations and how can startups get funding for their solutions to scale-up, I will say Impact Investors can be one of the groups for them to secure funding.

Here is an informative interview of veteran impact investor Julia Balandina Jaquier. Julia has written the book, Catalyzing Wealth for Change: Guide to Impact Investing, to offer perspectives on how to tackle social responsibility endeavors. She sits down with Sherryl Kuhlman, Managing Director of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, about her recommendations in the field of Impact Investing. http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/practical-guide-impact-investing/

Jacob Riis Quote On Perseverance – A Motto To Live By

I have been a big fan of San Antonio Spurs basketball since 1999, when I first moved to Texas to start my Masters degree. I first read the stone cutter’s quote with regards to their success and that it had a prominent place on their office walls. It also became to me a motto to live by. I always remember it when I have success or see anyone else succeed. Here’s to perseverance!

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

-Jacob A. Riis, Danish-American Social Reformer