Stick-On Patch: The Latest Advancement In Ultrasonography

By Anthony K

In the mid-2000s, we were introduced to wearables incorporating a microprocessor and an internet connection. Wearables were possible due to the miniaturization of devices over time. The miniaturization also allowed these tiny devices to speak to each other and deliver essential data across devices.

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The hands-free nature of the wearables enables them to be embedded in clothing and, in some cases, in the user’s body. We now have watches that measure our heart rate and our daily steps. What about an ultrasound imaging device that can take a snapshot of our blood vessels for better patient diagnosis?

Dr. Zhao and his team at MIT have been pondering the same question for a while. They came up with a possible answer that will revolutionize how we conduct imaging if true. The team developed an ultrasound patch that takes up to 48 hours of images. The device gives doctors a more detailed perspective of the patient’s condition.

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The device works by bouncing ultrasound waves off the patient’s blood vessels and internal organs and is collected to give an image. This is the same concept that ships and submarines use to navigate the deep seas. The concept is also used by animals such as dolphins and whales as a form of navigation.

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With the ongoing rapid adoption of wearables, the team envisions a future where users will be able to purchase the device over the counter. They are currently working on the wireless version, but the current version could also make an immediate improvement to the existing devices in use today. The ultrasound patches could also monitor fetuses, tumors, and bladder function.