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This Skin-Sticking Ultrasound Patch Is Like A Tricorder Band-Aid

Right now the team is working on a wireless iteration of the patch so that it can be worn anywhere and made available to be purchased over the counter, just like Band-Aids at a pharmacy. The idea is to link the patch with a smartphone and deploy AI algorithms to do the scanning when needed.

“With a few patches on your body, you could see your internal organs,” notes Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering at MIT. Another key achievement is that the ultrasound patch created by the team produces high-resolution imagery, while previous attempts by experts could only manage low-resolution visuals of the internal organs.

The ultrasound sticker — which measures around three millimeters thick and two square millimeters across — could one day also help detect tumors and track a fetus’ development in a mother’s womb. This is only the latest in a line of impressive medical inventions to have been delivered by MIT over the past few years. In February 2021, an MIT team also created a surgical tape for covering tears and wounds on internal organs, and could one day replace hand-sewn sutures.

Last year, another team from MIT developed a sensor-embedded skin patch that was said to be capable of monitoring skin conditions and even cancer. In 2019, experts at MIT also detailed a dye made of nanocrystals that could store medical information under the skin, while staying invisible to the naked eye.

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