A small ultrasound device the size of a Band-Aid could significantly lower the price of ultrasound devices.
Standard ultrasound devices rely on piezoelectric crystals to turn sound waves into electrical currents that can then translated into an image—crystals that can be expensive. As a more affordable alternative, the team from the University of British Columbia developed a polymer resin device that can replace the crystals when manufacturing the vibrating polyCMUTs drums that function as the transducer. The new technology could not only lower the cost of ultrasound devices to $100, but could also open the door to miniaturized forms of the devices able to perform continuous monitoring.
According to study lead author Carlos Gerardo, "By using polymer resin, we were able to produce polyCMUTs in fewer fabrication steps, using a minimum amount of equipment, resulting in significant cost savings."