Sep, 2022 - By SMI
A long-term ultrasonic imaging patch for interior organs and structures has been developed by researchers. The innovative technology may eventually make it possible for patients to use it at home on their own.
In order to capture images of the underlying organs, a doctor needs to apply messy gel and press a probe against the skin. This is obviously not feasible for long-term imaging, and it also calls for pricey equipment and necessitates visiting a clinic or hospital. Researchers at MIT have developed a tiny wearable patch that can scan the internal structure of the body for 48 hours. The gadget replaces the gel used on the skin during traditional ultrasonic operations with an underlying layer of hydrogel covered in elastomer and a stiff piezoelectric probe array. The ultrasound patch is smaller than a postage stamp, more portable, and less expensive than traditional ultrasound technology. Researchers have before tried to create portable ultrasound technology, with varying degrees of success. Existing ultrasound patches, however, have relatively poor resolution and short imaging times, making it unable to examine deep organs.
A few patches of the device would be attached to various parts of the body, according to one of the device's creators, Xuanhe Zhao and his team. The patches would interact with cellphones, which would use AI algorithms to analyse the visuals on demand. The researchers combined stiff transistors with a sticky coating that is simple to adhere to the user's skin in order to improve ultrasonic resolution. This ensures proper skin contact while preventing the transistors from moving in respect to one another. Sound waves can travel through the hydrogel layer at the bottom of the patch, which is surrounded by an elastomer layer to keep the gel from drying out.
The researchers want to usher in a new era of wearable imaging. In future, patients might be able to use it on their own.
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