The device is the outcome of US Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration investment of $1 million in a proof-of concept centre to bring life-sciences research to the market, US Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzeker told the students of Columbia University on Tuesday.
"Scientists at Drexel University, working with the centre, developed a hand-held, wireless breast cancer scanner, called the iBreast Exam. This device will enable any doctor or health care worker to conduct an exam within five minutes, and then access the results on a smartphone or tablet," Pritzeker said in her address to the 'Future of Urban Innovation Summit' in New York.
"We expect this product to be available for commercial use in the United States and India starting next month - a tangible result of strong collaboration between an urban hub, academic innovators, and public funding," she said.
In her speech, the Commerce Secretary credited the immigrants in US for "refreshing and renewing" the nation's tradition of innovation and urged people to keep this process running.
"Many immigrants flock to our cities in hopes of finding a partner at a local research institution; gaining financing to move their inventions from the lab to market; or testing their innovations in a dense population centre. Immigrants refresh and renew our nation's tradition of innovation," she said.
"We must ensure more talented students, skilled workers, and inventors from abroad can come to the United States and remain here by enacting comprehensive immigration reform. The built-in advantages of urban centres have led to strong partnerships in a wide range of American cities," Pritzeker said.
The secretary also discussed the advantages cities offer to entrepreneurs looking to start a business, including leading research universities, start-up incubators, financial institutions, advertising and marketing firms, the talent pool to develop new products and a concentrated customer base.
To utilise these resources, Pritzker emphasised the importance of strong, cross-sector partnerships to support businesses as they move out of the research and development phase to tackling the challenges of starting and growing a company.
She also outlined the wide variety of ways that the Department of Commerce invests in urban centres across America which facilitates ground breaking researches in diverse fields and collaborates with various partners to take new ideas from the lab to the market.