Engineers develop tampon-sized device to provide ultrasound imaging of internal organs, Health News, ET HealthWorld


Cambridge: Using live images of a patient’s internal organs, ultrasound imaging gives doctors safe, non-invasive insight into how the body works. Trained technicians use ultrasound probes and rods to guide sound waves through the body to take these photos. A patient’s heart, lungs and other deep organs can be seen in high definition images created by these reflected waves.

The results of the study have been published in Science.

Currently, ultrasound imaging requires large, specialized equipment available only in hospitals and medical practices. But a new design from MIT engineers could make the technology as portable and accessible as buying band-aids at the pharmacy.

Engineers present the design of a new ultrasound sticker – a tampon-sized device that sticks to the skin and can provide continuous ultrasound imaging of internal organs for 48 hours.

The researchers applied the stickers to volunteers and showed that the devices produced high-resolution live images of major blood vessels and deeper organs such as the heart, lungs and stomach. The stickers maintained a strong bond and picked up changes in the underlying organs as the volunteers performed various activities, including sitting, standing, jogging, and bicycling.

The current design requires connecting the stickers to instruments that translate reflected sound waves into images. The researchers point out that even in their current form, the stickers could have immediate applications: for example, the devices could be applied to patients in the hospital, like heart monitoring ECG stickers, and could continuously image internal organs without require a technician. to hold a probe in place for long periods of time.

If the devices can be made to work wirelessly – a goal the team is currently working towards – the ultrasound stickers could be turned 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 stuck to different places on the body, and the patches would communicate with your mobile phone, where AI algorithms would analyze the images on demand,” says lead study author Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of mechanical and civil engineering and environmental engineering at MIT. “We think we’ve ushered in a new era of wearable imaging: with a few patches on your body, you can see your internal organs.” m


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