- Dave Fornell, “5 Key Trends in New Ultrasound Technology,” Ultrasound Imaging, February 07, 2019
- Rob van Schaijk, “CMUT and PMUT: New Technology Platform for Medical Ultrasound,” Philips Innovation Services
Ultrasound imaging has developed into an extremely versatile diagnostic tool that is serving almost all branches of professional medical care. Despite its versatility, ultrasound diagnostics is still mainly used in clinical settings for three reasons:
- The ability to use it in the right way and acquire diagnostically relevant images;
- The translation of these images into diagnostic conclusions;
- The high cost and limited availability of this equipment.
The development of mass producible MEMS ultrasound transducers is enabling the cost effective production of highly complex 2D ultrasound imaging arrays capable of capturing 3D volumes. This combined with efficient edge AI to guide data acquisition and interpretation will enable the development of ultrasound diagnostic appliances that can be operated by users with limited medical knowledge.
The development of high volume and low cost MEMS ultrasound transducer technologies and edge AI will make ultrasound imaging available to semi-professional, remote diagnostics and even consumer marketsa.
Today the first products for these potentially huge markets are being introduced. With prices dropping rapidly from several thousands of dollars down to hundreds of dollars, ultrasound imaging is now moving out of the clinic. It not only will find its way to (semi) professionals like physiotherapists, obstetricians, midwives, sports physicians etc., but it will also bring diagnostic imaging to rural area’s (remote diagnostics) in developing countries. However, the largest market will probably in home foetal monitoring.
In Moore4Medical adaptable ultrasound frontends will be developed that, combined with deep-learning algorithms, will create closed loop ultrasound diagnostic systems that fully utilize the advantages of affordable 3D MEMS ultrasound platform technology. They will make the next generation ultrasound appliances personal, affordable, autonomous, and more efficient with respect to data collection and processing. In Moore4Medical both the transducer level, as well as the complete system will be addressed:
- On a transducer level CMUT/PMUT MEMS ultrasound platforms will be developed on which the deep learning algorithms can be implemented. The hardware ultrasound platform will consist of: Optimized low frequency CMUT / PMUT devices, and 3D MEMS ultrasound on ASIC integration;
- On the system level deep learning algorithms will be developed that assist or even replace the sonographer for data acquisition and interpretation. To achieve the objective, two AI enabled ultrasound systems with increasing complexity and functionality will be realized in a sequential approach, An open loop smart ultrasound system for fetal monitoring and a closed loop adaptable front- and back-end platform.