General Electric (GE) on Tuesday unveiled an ultrasound device about the size of an iPhone, saying the gadget could become "the stethoscope of the 21st century.


"We are going to put this in the clinicians' hands," GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt said after pulling a Vscan from a suit jacket pocket during an on-stage talk at a Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

"This really could be the stethoscope of the 21st Century."

Vscan has the potential to improve the ability of doctors to diagnose patients by allowing them to quickly view images of internal organs, according to General Electric.

The devices are geared for doctors who would be able to easily carry them about and use them for non-invasive views of what is going on in the bodies of patients.

Vscan flips open to show a video screen and has a sensor attached to a wand. GE did not disclose the proposed price for the device, which will be tested with the help of US doctors.