The phrase "mobile baby" will likely strike different chords with different people. Having grown up around dozens and dozens of babies, I consider the "mobile" phase the worst part--that's when the barricades start going up and people start walking into rooms screaming, "WHERE'S THE BABY?!" (and nine times out of ten, the baby's in the bathroom, playing in the toilet).
But that's not what Great Connections means by its new service, Mobile Baby, which launched Thursday. Rather, the term refers to the fact that the service allows parents-to-be to send and receive ultrasound scans via text messaging and email on their mobile phones. The service sends images, 3D stills, and video clips directly from the ultrasound machine to a mobile device, and it's available through Saudi Arabia-based telecom giant, Mobily.
Anyone who knows anyone who's expecting a child has gotten the standard ultrasound picture snapped with an iPhone, so that if the grainy black-and-white image wasn't already difficult enough to see, now you get the added fun of trying to find the baby somewhere in the reflection of the iPhone that's being held up to the monitor. "Congratulations! It's a...3GS..."
The app is compatible with any ultrasound machine and any mobile device. In addition to allowing expectant parents to send the images, if there's a hint of a problem, it will also allow doctors and specialists around the world to send and receive the images in seconds.
The service is the latest innovation in the rising mobile health field, which looks at ways to improve global health using mobile technology. Other efforts in mobile health (m-health) have included using text messaging to send health tips to users such as new parents, or using mobile phones to help a diabetic patient monitor his or her health, and so on.
"Approximately 153 billion ultrasound images are taken every year worldwide, and many of these parents-to-be want to share the pictures and video with loved ones," said Asa Nordgren, CEO, Great Connection Inc., in a prepared statement. "Sometimes, there are complications that require a second opinion from a specialist. With Mobile Baby, these sonograms can be received anywhere in the world within seconds, whether by family and friends or medical practitioners. We intend the application to promote better pre-natal care to even the most remote areas, and we are proud to be pioneering this area of wireless health with Mobily in Saudi Arabia. By the end of the year, we plan to make Mobile Baby available in many more countries, as well as introduce more m-health innovation from our company."
Great Connection, a mobile health company whose technology allows mobile devices to send and receive X-ray and ultrasound images, first launched Mobile Baby in 2009 in Scandinavia in partnership with Mama Mia, the country's largest private woman and child healthcare provider. Great Connection has offices in Stockholm, Sweden and San Diego, California.
Telecom company Mobily operates in the Middle East and North Africa, and was the first to distribute the iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia.
Image source: pregnancycheck.com