The Difference Seconds Can Make

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 16, 2010 — Imagine you’ve just arrived in the trauma unit of an emergency room. A physician is attempting to use an ultrasound machine to assess your condition, only to find the device is taking significant time to boot. When time is of the essence, would you want to wait two minutes or more?

This is the key question developers at SonoSite asked themselves when developing the SonoSite M-Turbo™ system. The ultrasound device, which utilizes Windows Embedded CE 6.0 , is used by clinicians for diagnosis and procedure guidance in a wide range of clinical applications inside and outside the hospital.

“Our customers wanted a device that they could rely on to be operational within 15 seconds of cold booting and expected the same or better user experience and performance than they would get from a typical consumer electronics device,” said Nick D’Ambrosia, software manager, Platform and Operating System, SonoSite.

With the componentized Windows Embedded CE 6.0 platform, SonoSite leveraged the flexibility of initializing and configuring only critical peripherals on boot up, saving essential time. To further reduce time, SonoSite developers chose to use only the modules clinicians would need, which reduced the operating system footprint to just a few megabytes — allowing the system to boot up in a total of 14 seconds. The M-Turbo™ system has 16 times the processing power of SonoSite’s previous generation device and still weighs less than 7 pounds.

“The team really enjoyed working with the tools found in Platform Builder for Windows Embedded CE 6.0,” said Tom Scherger, Software Engineer, Platform and Operating System, SonoSite. “After just a short amount of training, we were able to get the tools up and going, which was critical for debugging our target device.”

To gather clinical feedback about the device, SonoSite pre-released the M-Turbo system to select sites across the U.S., including the Duke University Medical School. “It is remarkable that SonoSite was able to listen to our needs and respond with a product that addressed them in a matter of months,” stated Stuart A. Grant, MD, director of Medical Student Education and Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Duke University Medical School in Durham, N.C. “The enhanced image quality and the ease of use of the M-Turbo are outstanding, and the ability to download images onto a USB thumb drive makes it simple to acquire and archive images for use in teaching and for patient records.”

For more information on SonoSite’s partnership with Windows Embedded, check out the Microsoft Case Study titled “SonoSite Inc. Medical Device Manufacturer Makes Hand-Carried Ultrasound a Reality” and for information on Windows Embedded health solutions, please visit