Ultrasound imaging is arguably the safest, easiest and most inexpensive way to diagnose causes of pain and infection, guide biopsies, assess damage after a heart attack and of course, to examine babies in pregnant woman! Traditionally with 2D ultrasound, slices of the body can be seen at high resolution, but without any context, sonographers can make mistakes. That’s where 3D ultrasound systems come in, however, at the cost of a completely new ultrasonic machine worth $250,000 along with a lower resolution image.
Whilst playing a Nintendo Wii game with his son, Joshua Broder, M.D., an emergency physician and associate professor of surgery at Duke Health, had the revelation of attaching an orientation sensor to an ultrasound probe. The plan was to use orientation tracking technology to be able to generate additional slices of the body together to create a 3 dimensional outline. Furthermore, the model would have image resolution comparable to 2D ultrasound but with the 3D capabilities similar to CT or MRI!
Broder took his idea to Duke graduate, Matt Morgan and Biomedical Engineering professors Carl Herickhoff and Jeremy Dalh at the Pratt School of Engineering. Together, they developed a 3D printed plastic collar that could be slipped onto an ultrasound probe meant to hold the location sensing microchip. The system is meant to be compatible with any 2D ultrasound in the world with just a 3D printed plastic collar, $10 microchip sensor, a video cable to plug into the existing ultrasound machine and a USB cable to be plugged into a computer.
The Stanford/Duke duo of doctors and engineers recently demonstrated the device last Tuesday at the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Research Forum in Washington D.C. Prior to the presentation, Broder approached Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab DesignHub for an organizational bracket to professionally present the system as a whole. Senior DesignHub engineer, Neel Kurupassery, drafted a sleek and practical mount to cohere a Surface Pro to the ultrasound machine. Additionally, back pockets and appropriately spaced outlets were designed for necessary wires to connect in a convenient and organized fashion.
Seeing the innovative model successfully perform as a complete 3D ultrasound unit was the most rewarding part for Neel. Furthermore, additional iterations are in play to streamline the aesthetics of the mount, as gratis. In combination with the affordability of custom 3D printed parts, the 2D-turned-3D ultrasound truly proves to have economic impact in the pricey world of diagnostic imaging.
Read more about the ultrasonic upgrade here: https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news-listing/how-10-microchip-turns-2-d-ultrasound-machines-3-d-imaging-devices