from the I-see-your-true-organs-shining-through dept.
Ultrasound imaging is a safe and noninvasive window into the body's workings, providing clinicians with live images of a patient's internal organs. To capture these images, trained technicians manipulate ultrasound wands and probes to direct sound waves into the body. These waves reflect back out to produce high-resolution images of a patient's heart, lungs, and other deep organs.
Currently, ultrasound imaging requires bulky and specialized equipment available only in hospitals and doctor's offices. But a new design by MIT engineers might make the technology as wearable and accessible as buying Band-Aids at the pharmacy.
In a paper appearing today in Science, the engineers present the design for a new ultrasound sticker — a stamp-sized device that sticks to skin and can provide continuous ultrasound imaging of internal organs for 48 hours.
[...] If the devices can be made to operate wirelessly — a goal the team is currently working toward — the ultrasound stickers could be made into wearable imaging products that patients could take home from a doctor's office or even buy at a pharmacy.
"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," says the study's senior author, Xuanhe Zhao, professor of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering at MIT. "We believe we've opened a new era of wearable imaging: With a few patches on your body, you could see your internal organs."
[...] "We imagine we could have a box of stickers, each designed to image a different location of the body," Zhao says. "We believe this represents a breakthrough in wearable devices and medical imaging."
Chonghe Wang, Xiaoyu Chen, Liu Wang, et al., Bioadhesive ultrasound for long-term continuous imaging of diverse organs, Science, 377, 2022. DOI: 10.1126/science.abo2542