Fletcher Allen radiologist Dr Kristen Destigter has received a $100,000 grant from the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, to help her further improve her efforts on the Imaging the World project by getting ultrasound technology in developing countries.”In the developing world, maternal mortality and morbidity is very high,” Destigter said.She said that rate could be lowered by using portable ultrasound machines, which currently run around $8,000. She’s hoping to use the grant to make a similar machine that’s more affordable. The smaller machines will allow health care workers in rural areas to conduct ultrasounds as long as they have sunlight and cellphone reception. Solar power can charge the device in places where there is usually limited access to power, then with a phone network, an image can be sent like a text message.”Imaging the World’s developed a compression and transmission model that allows us to compress those so much that they’re the size of a photo and we can send them over a regular cellphone modem,” Destigter said.Once the image is taken, it’s sent to a doctor to be read.”We have a network of volunteer experts around the world and even in Uganda who are able to look at these images,” Destigter said. “Then we send that result back to the nurse midwife at the rural health center in a text message on her cellphone.”She said that leads to proper diagnosis and allows women to get to hospital if they need more thorough treatment.”Having ultrasound available in these rural areas how that is going to save many many lives,” Destigter said.If all goes well with the project, Destigter’s efforts could receive $1 million in more funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.