ULIMPIA combines state-of-the-art MEMS ultra-sound technology with innovations in conformably patch technology to create an open platform for diagnostic ultra-sound patches. These body patches will enable continuous monitoring of bodily functions, making ultra-sound diagnostics affordable to the consumer, but also keeping health costs down by moving continuous medical care from the hospital to the home.
Back in the early the 1990’s, practically all electronic cameras were based on so-called plumbicon recording tubes. These tubes were bulky and needed high voltages, as well as, magnetic focusing and deflection coils, making electronic cameras expensive and mainly reserved for the professional market. Within a decade that situation changed completely. With the introduction of silicon-based CCD (charge-coupled device) and CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) image sensors, the price of electronic cameras drastically went down, while at the same time quality increased with a dramatic reduction in size.
Significantly, this has consequences for medical ultra-sound imaging and therapy. Until now, most ultra-sound diagnostics were based on traditional piezo ceramic ultra-sound transducers. These are labour-intensive to fabricate and therefore expensive, limiting the use of ultra-sound diagnostic to professional users. Now, this situation is set to change dramatically during the next decade because exactly the same development in electronic cameras is at the moment taking place in medical ultra-sound diagnostics. After 60 years, during which it has proven its immense clinical value, ultra-sound is now ready to enter the consumer marketspace, thanks to projects such as ULIMPIA.
ULIMPIA will combine state-of-the-art MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) ultra-sound technology with innovations in conformably patches to create an open platform for diagnostic ultra-sound patches. These body patches will enable the continuous monitoring of bodily functions on the surface of the skin, but also deep inside the body. ULIMPIA will also demonstrate such applications as blood-pressure measurement; bladder monitoring; blood-vessel inspection of diabetes patients; early breast-cancer detection; needle guidance; and wound monitoring. The resulting platform will be accessible to multiple users, enabling them to concentrate on application development, rather than on the development of technological point-solutions. A large European consortium consisting of 28 partners from seven countries will develop the necessary technological building blocks, which include: a programmable universal ultra-sound engine, conformable patch technologies and functional adhesive and bio-compatible materials.
The objectives of ULIMPIA are to:
- Enable ultra-sound diagnostics to become a consumer commodity;
- Create new markets, encompassing micro-fabrication, patch fabrication and applications;
- Fuel the market for large-area conformable assembly technologies;
- Help manage the cost of health care, by bringing point-of-care diagnosis to the patient.
To watch the full video on the ULIMPIA project and learn more about how Penta helps collaborative partners to create
our digital future, please click here.