Speckle-Free, Hand-Held, Ultrasound Imaging System for Space Missions
Ultrasound imaging has long been the preferred modality for diagnostic evaluation of acute physiological conditions. However, current B-scan ultrasound, based on a fan of echoes, is very difficult to understand and requires specialized training to interpret. In this program, we propose to develop a speckle-free ultrasound imaging system which is low power, low cost, and can be made in a handheld format. The images generated from this system are striking for their radiographic appearance and lack of unwanted ultrasound artifacts. The system could be used to diagnose a variety of acute conditions as well as guide therapies during surgery. The solution proposed by Imperium is based on a proprietary 2-D monolithic integrated array in which a piezoelectric material is deposited on a CMOS integrated circuit, much like an infrared imaging array. The lens-based device produces video quality images which unlike current ultrasound systems, requires no special training to interpret. The proposed solution is a high resolution, real-time, speckle-free, portable, ruggedized camera which will allow for a Crew Medical Officer (CMO) to immediately diagnose internal features and organs. Alternatively, the device could be used to assess the air bubbles in the bloodstream both during and after space flights.
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