Ultrasound images have been a safe way to view the way a person’s body is working, particularly their organs. For decades, a technician ran a large machine and used a wand to probe different parts of the body. Since the technology uses sound waves, it was noninvasive and safe for the patient. MIT recently designed a wearable type of ultrasound, eliminating the bulky equipment. The new type of ultrasound is roughly the same size as a band aid. It can monitor the person’s internal organs over a 48-hour period, providing a lot more data than the traditional ultrasound machine. In a demonstration with volunteers, engineers were able to monitor heart, stomach, longs, and blood flow, and the stickers adhered without any serious issues, even if volunteers were actively doing activities like jogging.
If adapted, it could be used in hospitals as a different way of monitoring patient’s vitals. If researchers can make the sticker wireless (it isn’t currently), the ultrasound sticker could provide greater benefits for patients and medical professionals to see people’s bodies while they are executing their daily activities.
There is a process to add the sticker, starting with adding a liquid, similar to the one used with the large machine. This liquid gel provides the same method of transmitting the ultrasound waves into the body. The sticker is then applied over the gel. This gel will dry over time, which can interrupt the transmission of the images. This is another problem the researchers are trying to overcome, along with making the sticker wireless.
To learn more about this innovative take on ultrasounds and health monitoring, you can check out the full article on MIT’s site at MIT Engineers Develop Stickers That Can See Inside the Body. More details were provided in the journal Science.