Anyone who has had a mammogram or an MRI knows how uncomfortable and awkward the tests can be. Now, Purdue University researchers have taken technology used in the defense and aerospace industries to create a novel way of doing some medical imaging.
One reason the tests are uncomfortable is that they often use rigid radio-frequency (RF) coils to detect signals from the body. Now, the Purdue team has developed RF coils that are formable and stretchable. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Stretchable and Conformal Electronics 2019-2029.
"Imagine going for an imaging session and they strap on a comfortable fabric with the coils embedded inside," said Joseph Rispoli, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in Purdue's College of Engineering. "We created an adaptable, wearable and stretchable fabric embroidered with conductive threads that provides excellent signal-to-noise ratio for enhanced MRI scanning."
Current approaches to enhancing signal-to-noise ratio, known as SNR, include shaping receive coil arrays to encompass a generalized form of the body part of interest, but these are often rigid and require the patient be posed in a specific way. The Purdue flexible and stretchable coil could be placed close to the skin on an area or joint, regardless of its positioning.
The thread technology used in the Purdue innovation is similar to that found in applications for the aerospace and defense industries. Rispoli said the technology also is applicable to breast MRI and to enhancing medical device communication using wearable or implantable antennas.
"Our preliminary results show a full-scale device will be superior in all aspects of diagnostic testing, including increased sensitivity and fewer false positives," Rispoli said.
The innovators are working with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology.
Source and top image: Purdue University
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Healthcare Sensor Innovations USA 2020 on 18 - 19 Nov 2020 at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, USA hosted by IDTechEx.