Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

April 13, 2022

Butterfly’s handheld ultrasound can empower midwives, study finds

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Butterfly Network's pocket sized ultrasound device, Butterfly iQ.

Guilford-based Butterfly Network’s handheld device can be used to  “democratize obstetric ultrasound,” according to a new study announced by the company last week. 

The study, conducted from September 2018 through June 2021 and published in NEJM Evidence, involved 4,695 pregnant volunteers in North Carolina and Zambia.

Researchers compared estimates of gestational age given by the Butterfly iQ handheld device against fetal measurements collected on commercial ultrasound machine. The study concluded that the handheld device could be used by local midwives and other health professionals in remote areas to obtain accurate results and improve health outcomes. 

“This has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of obstetric care in settings like Zambia,” said  Dr. Joni Price, who led study implementation. “Armed with a pocket-sized Butterfly probe and a smartphone, a Zambian midwife with no prior training in sonography can assess gestational age as accurately as a certified sonographer using an expensive machine.”

The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Fetal Age Machine Learning Initiative, an effort to expand access to ultrasound in low-income settings where cost and logistics have traditionally prevented its use.

Another Gates Foundation grant announced last month will enable the Guilford company to  distribute 1,000 Butterfly iQ+ devices to healthcare workers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

After going public in a $1.5 billion SPAC deal in 2020, Butterfly Network announced it planned to move this year to a new corporate headquarters in Burlington, Mass.

Some workers are expected to remain at the Butterfly facility in Guilford, which is housed in entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg’s 4Catalyzer life sciences incubator.

Contact Liese Klein at

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF