August 02, 2022

New Stamp-Sized Patch Offers Ultrasound Imaging

If you’ve ever had an ultrasound done, you know what a tedious process it can be before you finally get scanned for abnormalities (or a baby). Now, an American team of engineers have come up with a possible, convenient alternative.

The big brains at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts are developing a wearable ultrasound device, roughly the size of a large coin, that can be applied directly to the skin like a patch.

It contains a rigid transducer array attached to a stretchy adhesive layer that bends as the body does, while the array can still generate high quality images which can be sent to a receiver.

Xuanhe Zhao, professor and senior study author, said: “We envision a few patches adhered to different locations on the body, and the patches would communicate with your cell phone, where AI algorithms would analyse the images on demand.”

The idea is to produce a non-invasive and wireless patch that translates the reflected sound waves into images. Recent trials have proven that the technology is possible, and the devices remained on the volunteers’ skin for up to 48 hours.

This potentially marks a breakthrough for medical imaging and wearable technology, paving the way for better health monitoring to real-time internal organ viewing.

No doubt the technology will undergo improvements and be patched up, but the idea is bound to stick around.

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