GE wants to share ideas to accelerate development of ultrasound tech

It's no secret that General Electric ($GE) has been working aggressively to advance its ultrasound research and development. But now the technology giant is looking for outside inspiration, through an "open" initiative intended to spur new ideas in the field both inside and outside the company.

Not surprisingly, GE isn't disclosing details about financial incentives. But this "Ultrasound Innovation Circle" will give independent researchers access to GE technology and talent in order to develop, test and prove their new ideas. GE will supply equipment, data analysis and other tools as needed, for example. GE is also eyeing future ideas that it could bring into its own development process and executives plan to manage any research partnerships through this program through the company's licensing department.

GE's goal here (through its GE Healthcare division) is to work with the ultrasound research community to use ultrasound devices and microbubbles in ways that could produce novel diagnostic approaches and new treatments. What are microbubbles? They reflect a new riff on imaging, GE explains, where microscopic bubbles are injected in the body to help with contrast agent-enhanced imaging or to deliver drug treatments. The ultrasound basically pops the bubbles at the point of destination, according to the company.

GE Vice President of Advanced Technology Programs at GE Global Research Michael Idelchik said in a statement that the open research collaboration will help tap into "dozens of promising [ultrasound] applications under development by independent researchers." And if the collaboration works, GE's massive offering of funding and resources (and possible licensing) should help accelerate their efforts.

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