Pocket-Sized Ultrasound Machine

A project by: Ourania Varsou


WE RAISED £3,655

from 19 donors

Ensuring students don't miss out on experiencing the stethoscope of the future!

We are hoping to invest in a cutting-edge pocket-sized ultrasound machine to enhance our students' learning experience, create new research initiatives and exchange knowledge with the wider public. Our goal is to continue Glasgow's legacy of always providing its students with the best opportunities for learning, research and development! We want to bring one of the most technologically advanced pocket-sized ultrasound to our students, academic staff and our wider community. These handheld ultrasound machines have been called “the stethoscopes of the future”.

This incredible piece of equipment has in-built training and image processing software. It will increase knowledge and exchange and promote research opportunities across the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences. Students will be able to have a hands-on experience of the machine and practise their scanning skills on our bespoke training phantoms (artificial devices that emulate human structures) developing an even better understanding of anatomy, physiology, and disease.

This technology will bring a new dimension to the learning and teaching experience of our students and staff - we can achieve this with your support!

Glasgow's history with ultrasound

The University of Glasgow plays a pioneering part in the history of clinical ultrasound! Did you know that the first ever ultrasound used for clinical diagnosis was developed and used by our very own Professor Ian Donald along with his colleagues Tom Brown and Dr John MacVicar in Glasgow?

Professor Ian Donald became fascinated with the idea of using radar and sonar techniques in medical diagnostics during the Second World War. Sonar and the way ultrasound works is actually very similar to how dolphins “see” the world. They send out sound waves and then detect the sound waves that bounce off nearby objects.

Professor Ian Donald and his colleagues from Glasgow introduced ultrasound from the mid-1950s onward, as a non-invasive and reliable diagnostic tool in pregnancy changing the face of obstetrics forever. How many women do you know who have had a pregnancy scan? Ultrasound is an essential part of prenatal scanning around the world and is now used in more than we could even imagine revolutionising medical diagnostics.

Nowadays, ultrasound is also used in teaching by enabling students to better understand the structure and function of the human body. By having a pocket-sized and user friendly ultrasound machine, we will complement our existing state-of-the-art facilities and equipment adding a new dimension to the teaching at the University of Glasgow making this a unique learning experience for our students!

What will having this equipment mean?

This portable machine has the capability to produce images that are 2D, 3D, 4D (moving 3D images) and Doppler (visualisation of blood flow) promoting research in life sciences and clinical medicine. Glasgow is at the forefront of scientific research and we want our academic staff to have access to cutting-edge equipment to continue making scientific and medical advancements that help our global community.

“I have also been involved in several research projects involving ultrasound. Each project has been different ranging from anaesthesia to ultrasound teaching in medical schools. This shows the variety of areas ultrasound is involved in and why it is important to learn correctly. It is an exciting form of imaging with many benefits such as no radiation and being portable with the newer ultrasound machines fitting in your pocket. By conducting research, it has shown the evolving nature of ultrasound and its benefits to patient care.” – Katie Turnbull, 3rd year Medical Student, University of Glasgow 

Research has reported that hands-on ultrasound improves students' knowledge who also see it as a valuable addition to teaching. We want to give our students the opportunity to use the pocket-sized ultrasound machine to develop their scanning skills on our bespoke phantoms (artificial devices that emulate human structures), which also eliminate any issues associated with incidental findings (unexpected findings with potential health implications that could be identified if scanning volunteers). Our aim is to use this ultrasound in lectures, small group teachings sessions and lab-based settings, enhancing our students' learning experience hugely. We want to ensure that our students are equipped for the real world so they can make a positive impact on health-related and scientific research benefiting our global community.

“Every academic year we teach Anatomy to over 1000 students largely by means of cadaveric anatomy and thanks to our generous community that supports this with numerous donations. Developing this ultrasound based teaching will be an important asset and a precious complement to our current teaching resources and will enhance considerably the educational experience of our students.” – Professor Fabio Quondamatteo, Head of Anatomy, University of Glasgow 

Images such as the above demonstrate the incredible technology of ultrasound. Technology we need to continue using and adapting so that we carry on our legacy of Glasgow having a footprint on global health innovation and research.

“Ultrasound is a valuable tool for both anatomy teaching and research. It is becoming more routinely used in clinical practice making it important for students to learn how to both perform and interpret ultrasound images. I have seen it being used for a variety of reasons such as the insertion of cannulas in patients with poor venous access, to visualise breast tissue aiding the drainage of breast cysts and more complicated procedures such as percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC) for drainage of the bile ducts.” – Katie Turnbull, 3rd year Medical Student, University of Glasgow 

This pocket-sized ultrasound machine with our bespoke phantoms (artificial devices that emulate human structures) will also be used as a science communication tool. This will allow us to exchange knowledge with the wider public on important health topics such as stroke and heart attacks.

What will your money achieve?

Donations will go towards buying this pocket-sized ultrasound machine which includes Wi-Fi allowing for images to be transmitted to any other screen including lecture theatres. But that equipment buys much more:

  • Hands-on learning experience for our students potentially enhancing employability
  • Cutting-edge clinical imaging resource for groundbreaking research
  • Enthuse students to pursue imaging research
  • Sustain Glasgow's history and involvement in using cutting-edge ultrasound technology


Giving to life sciences teaching and research is an incredible contribution to the University and the global community and we want to ensure you are properly thanked. 

  • £15 - Receive a handwritten postcard from a student or member of staff
  • £25 - Receive a personalised thank you video showing you the ultrasound machine with a bespoke phantom in action
  • £50 - Receive a University of Glasgow tote bag and a handwritten postcard from a student or member of staff
  • £250 -  Attend a 'Meet and Greet' event to see the ultrasound machine with a bespoke phantom in action
  • £500 -  Attend a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Hunterian, see the ultrasound machine with a bespoke phantom in action and have the opportunity to scan the phantom yourself

Help us succeed!

Help us succeed by sharing the word! Share on Facebook, Twitter, email, text, chat to everyone! We need your help to get this pocket-sized ultrasound machine so that the next generation of our scientists and healthcare professionals are equipped with expertise that can allow them to make a positive impact benefiting our global community!

Thank you for your support!