Muscle disorders, such as hematoma and atrophy, are major medical concerns stemming from the results of heavy muscles works such as intensive manual labors and physical exercises. For example, about 30% of sports injuries are related to muscles and it has been challenging to monitor the muscles usages and conditions with real-time feedback to avoid the extensive usages of muscles. From the perspective of availability, cost, and simplicity, ultrasonic imaging is a better route than technologies such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for muscle disorder diagnostics, especially for usages in sports traumatology and rehabilitation training. The emerging technology of piezoelectric micromachined ultrasonic transducers (pMUTs) by wafer-scale, CMOS-compatible MEMS fabrication techniques has been developed for several consumer electronics such as 3D gesture recognition and fingerprint sensing. Due to the features of better acoustic coupling, lower cost and lower power consumption as compared to the traditional ultrasonic transducers, pMUTs are potentially better for wearable consumer electronics. Here, we propose the concept of a wearable muscle diagnostic system for sports monitoring based on pMUT arrays. Experimental results have shown clear images from both A- and B-mode scans on three polymer-based, artificial structures mimicking both normal and disorder muscle statuses. As such, this pMUT arrays based wearable medical imaging system could find potential applications in wearable and battery-powered ultrasonic muscle monitoring systems.
Project end date: 02/01/19