Ultra-Small Ultrasound

Journey to the center of … YOU?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

To see inside ourselves, we use ultrasound machines! They capture 2D images of our internal organs using sound waves. 

But this technology is difficult to use for LONG periods of time. It involves A LOT of cold gel and holding completely still! Is there a better way to take an ultrasound? 

Enter Chonghe Wang and colleagues from MIT. They developed a wearable ultrasound sticker the size of a postage stamp. The sticker contains a thin ultrasound probe wrapped in a water-based material. Think of a sticky ravioli–that can capture sound waves! 

To test the ultrasound, fifteen participants wore the sticker for forty-eight hours. Their hearts, gastrointestinal tracts, diaphragms, and lungs were monitored. High-quality images were collected over long periods of time, including during exercise! 

The researchers believe this technology can allow us to use ultrasound in real time, during everyday life!  

Forget gender reveal parties – try a sonogram watch party! 

Reference: Wang, C., Chen, X., Wang, L., Makihata, M., Liu, H.-C., Zhou, T., & Zhao, X. (2022). Bioadhesive ultrasound for long-term continuous imaging of diverse organs. Science, 377(6605), 517–523. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abo2542