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MIT's wearable ultrasound device could detect breast cancer at early stages

Wearable ultrasound scanner that checks tumor

 

MIT researchers have developed a wearable ultrasound device that could allow people to detect breast cancer and tumors when they are still in their early stages. It serves as an ideal portable device for patients at high risk of developing breast cancer in between routine mammograms. It is a flexible patch that is attached to a bra, allowing the wearer to freely move as the test and imaging take place.

 

After wearing the MIT-designed device, the ultrasound tracker and patch can scan and take photos of the breast tissue from different angles, and the researchers have shown in their recent study that the device generates ultrasound images with resolution comparable to the ones used in medical imaging centers. The wearable scanner by MIT researchers employs ultrasound technology similar to what is used in medical imaging centers, but with an added piezoelectric material that allows for a miniaturized design.

mit wearable ultrasound scanner cancer
images by Canan Dagdeviren

 

 

Reusable ultrasound scanner with portable imaging device

 

To make it wearable, the MIT researchers created a flexible, 3D-printed patch with honeycomb-like openings, equipped with matrix openings for the ultrasound scanner to make contact with the skin. Inside a small tracker, the ultrasound scanner can be positioned in six different ways to capture images of the entire breast. It can also be rotated to capture images from various angles and is easy enough to operate. 

 

As of publishing the story, the MIT researchers say they need to connect the patch to a larger machine, like the ones used in medical imaging centers, to see the ultrasound images. At the same time, they are already working on developing a smartphone-sized machine that can generate the quality resulting images so that the wearer can just bring it with them anytime without the need to connect it to specific machines.

 

The patch can also be used multiple times, so it is not needed to be thrown away after one use. The wearable ultrasound could be particularly helpful for people who are at high risk for breast cancer, as they could use it for frequent screening at home. It could also be useful for diagnosing cancer in people who do not have regular access to medical screening centers, making the wearable ultrasound accessible to the public.

mit wearable ultrasound scanner cancer
the remote control that activates the scanner

 

 

MIT researcher’s experience births wearable scanner

 

The MIT researchers – composed of professors Canan Dagdeviren and Dabin Lin, MIT graduate student Wenya Du, research scientist Lin Zhang, and Emma Suh – draw from a personal experience that led to developing the wearable ultrasound patch and scanner that could detect breast cancer and tumor earlier. Professor Dagdeviren’s late aunt, Fatma Caliskanoglu, was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer at age 49, despite having regular cancer screens and passed away six months later.

 

While standing by her aunt’s bedside, Dagdeviren, a post-doctorate at MIT, imagined a diagnostic device and sketched its rough design which could be integrated into a bra. She envisioned it as a wearable ultrasound that could.later on, provide more frequent screening for those at high risk of breast cancer even when they are at home. After a period, the device, once a sketch, has manifested into a real instrument. 

 

‘We changed the form factor of the ultrasound technology so that it can be used in your home. It’s portable and easy to use, and provides real-time, user-friendly monitoring of breast tissue. My goal is to target the people who are most likely to develop interval cancer,’ says Dagdeviren. ‘With more frequent screening, our target is to increase the survival rate to up to 98 percent.’

mit wearable ultrasound scanner cancer
MIT’s wearable ultrasound device could detect breast cancer at early stages

mit wearable ultrasound scanner cancer
sequence of using MIT’s scanner to detect breast cancer and tumor

mit-wearable-ultrasound-cancer-device-designboom-ban

the researchers created a flexible, 3D-printed patch with honeycomb-like openings to allow the patch to scan

mit wearable ultrasound scanner cancer
flexible patch that can be attached to a bra

mit wearable ultrasound scanner cancer
close up view of the tracker

mit wearable ultrasound scanner cancer
the flexible patch attached to a bra allows the wearer to freely move as the test and imaging take place

mit-wearable-ultrasound-cancer-device-designboom-1800

MIT’s wearable ultrasound device could detect breast cancer at early stages

 

project info:

 

name: Wearable ultrasound scanner

institution: MIT

team: Canan Dagdeviren and Dabin Lin, Wenya Du, Lin Zhang, Emma Suh

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