Using live images of a patient’s internal organs, ultrasound imaging gives clinicians a safe, non-invasive insight into how the body functions. In order to steer sound waves into the body and produce these images, skilled specialists use ultrasound wands and probes. High-resolution images of a patient’s heart, lungs, and other deep organs are created as these waves reflect back out.
However, this method requires close contact between the transducer and the target area. This might make it challenging to acquire images for an extended length of time, particularly if the patient must move around, and currently, ultrasound imaging requires heavy, specialized equipment that is only found in medical facilities and clinics.
But thanks to a new design by MIT engineers, the technology may soon be as wearable and accessible as buying Band-Aids at the drugstore. A postage stamp-sized sticky ultrasonic patch has been created by MIT researchers. While the wearable patch scans their internal organs, blood vessels, or digestive system, patients can continue with their usual activities.
The stickers provided clear photographs of their interior organs and main blood veins. With the use of the patches, the researchers were able to see how the stomachs of the volunteers changed while they consumed juice. They could see how the heart changed shape when pumping blood during exercise, as well as how major blood veins changed in size depending on whether the participant was standing or sitting.
Recent developments in miniaturization are advantageous for the new device. It might be viewed in this sense as a component of a larger movement toward monitoring, which can be applied to both hospital inpatient supervision and outpatient treatment.
For instance, electronic thin patches are being put on the skin to continuously monitor blood glucose levels and, in some situations, can inject insulin into the bloodstream to assist manage diabetes.
Technical Committee 124 (TC 124) was established by the IEC in March 2017 with the goal of developing standards for wearable electronic technologies and devices, which includes those that are patchable, implantable, and ingestible, as well as those produced from electronic textile materials. The scientists shared their new technology in a paper published last week in the journal Science.
Xuanhe Zhao, a mechanical engineer at MIT and one of the study’s authors said in a statement, “We believe we’ve opened a new era of wearable imaging, With a few patches on your body, you could see your internal organs.”
For the time being, the stickers must be linked to instruments in order to make sense of the data they’ve collected. However, the scientists hope to improve their design in the near future so that the stickers can communicate wirelessly with a patient’s smartphone for real-time, on-demand imaging.
Zhao said, “We are working hard on the wireless version, Because there are already wireless point-of-care handhold ultrasounds, we are confident that we will be able to achieve the wireless version in a few years.”
Watch it here: Youtube/MIT