A tremendous revolution in medical imaging could be just around the corner, as scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created an ultrasound patch, which can take a ultrasound inside a person as they go about their daily lives.
The portable patch, which is the size of a postal stampit can image blood vessels, the digestive system, and internal organs for up to 48 hours, giving doctors a more detailed picture of a patient’s health than the snapshots provided by routine scans.
In laboratory tests, the researchers used the patches to observe how people’s hearts change shape during exercise, their stomachs expand and shrink as they drink and pass drinks, and their muscles pick up microdamage when they lift weights.
Professor Xuanhe Zhao of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commented: “The bioadhesive ultrasound patch (or Baus) contains an array of small sensors (piezoelectric transducers) that transmit ultrasonic waves through the skin and into the body. These waves bounce off blood vessels, tissues and internal organs and are detected by the same elements in the patch. At the moment, the patch has to be connected to an instrument that converts reflections into images, but the researchers are developing a wireless patch to work with software on a mobile phone.”
Zhao understands that this is a revolutionary process that with the help of smart algorithms in his mobile phones, to monitor his heart, lungs and digestive systems for early signs of disease or infection, or his muscles during rehabilitation or physical training.