Ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic technique extensively used to produce high-resolution images of a patient’s internal organs. This technique is the safest and most used form of medical imaging. However, ultrasound imaging requires bulky and specialized equipment.
But a tiny sticker designed by MIT engineers might make ultrasound as simple as buying Band-Aids at the pharmacy. Their device could help in delivering continuous ultrasound images of internal organs for up to 48 hours.
Using this device, scientists could wirelessly track muscle health during workouts or fetal development during pregnancy.
Chonghe Wang, an MIT graduate student, said, “Wearable ultrasound imaging tool would have huge potential in the future of clinical diagnosis,”
How this ultrasound device works:
The adhesive ultrasound stamp is about one square inch in size and a few millimeters thick. In the current design, stickers are connected to the instruments that translate the reflected sound waves into images.
But for capturing these images, ultrasound wands are manipulated to direct sound waves into the body. As a result, these sound waves reflect out to produce high-resolution images of a patient’s internal organs.
Researchers are working to make these patches communicate with a smartphone app. Then mobile apps would use AI algorithms to analyze the images.
“We envision a few patches adhered to different locations on the body, and the patches would communicate with your cellphone, where AI algorithms would analyze the images on demand,” said senior author Xuanhe Zhao. “We believe we’ve opened a new era of wearable imaging: With a few patches on your body, you could see your internal organs.”