MIT’s “ultrasound sticker” can show doctors a patient’s organs without bulky equipment.
The ultrasound sticker can provide continuous ultrasound imaging of interior organs for 48 hours; according to the university. These tiny monitors can produce “live, high-resolution images of major blood vessels and deeper organs such as the heart, lungs, and stomach”.
MIT wants to make wearable imaging gadgets that patients can buy at a pharmacy. University isn’t there yet.
MIT’s ultrasound sticker requires a gadget that transforms sound waves to pictures. Until a wifi version is available; users won’t be able to utilise these ultrasound stickers at home.
Researchers aren’t only making ultrasound stickers. MIT is also “developing AI-based software algorithms. That can better interpret and diagnose the stickers’ images”. So they can be used to monitor internal organs, tumour progression, and foetal development.
However, MIT believes the ultrasonic sticker “could have immediate applications”. The gadgets may be attached to hospital patients; like heart-monitoring EKG stickers and could continually photograph interior organs without requiring a technician to hold a probe in place.
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A technician puts ultrasound-transmitting gel to a patient’s skin to image using ultrasound. A probe or transducer is pressed against the gel, sending sound waves into the body that echo off internal structures and return to the probe, where they are interpreted into visual images.
Some hospitals have probes attached to robotic arms that can hold a transducer without tiring, but ultrasound gel dries up with time, stopping long-term imaging.
Stretchable ultrasound probes would offer portable, low-profile imaging of internal organs. These designs used a flexible array of small ultrasonic transducers to adjust to a patient’s body.
Due to its stretch, these experimental designs created low-resolution images. Transducers move with the body, distorting the image.
Wearable ultrasonography could revolutionise clinical diagnostics. Existing ultrasound patches are low-resolution and can’t image deep organs, says MIT graduate student Chonghe Wang.