These are new ultrasonic stickers the size of a postage stamp. And they produce clear images of the heart, lungs and other internal organs. The adhesive that lets you “see” inside the body is real. MIT engineers made it possible.
Ultrasound has been used for a long time. It makes it possible to know, for example, the state of health of a baby in gestation. But it always involved the use of probes and wands. Now it will be as easy as buying a band-aid at the pharmacy.
Coming soon, wireless
The article was published in the journal ‘Science’. The device attaches to the skin. It can provide continuous ultrasound imaging of internal organs for 48 hours. During the trials, the stickers maintained strong adhesion. They captured changes in the underlying organs as the volunteers performed various activities.
The current design still requires connecting the stickers to instruments. These translate the reflected sound waves into images. But it would have immediate applications. For example, in a hospital, it would allow continuous monitoring of changes.
The option of making it wireless is being worked on. Then we could have portable images that patients could take home from a doctor’s office. Or even buy from a pharmacy.
“The patches would communicate with your cell phone. AI algorithms would analyze the images on demand,” Xuanhe Zhao explains in a statement. He is a professor at MIT and lead author of the paper. “It’s a new era of wearable imaging. With some patches on your body, you could see your internal organs.”
Adhesive that allows “seeing” inside the body is the future. “With imaging, we could capture instants never before monitored like this. For example, the moment in a workout before overuse. We could stop before muscles become sore,” says Chen. “We don’t yet know when that moment might be. But now we can provide imaging data that experts can interpret.”