Ultrasound diagnostic device improves medical care in Africa

STMicroelectronics Pty Ltd

By ElectronicsOnline Staff
Tuesday, 26 April, 2016


MU and STMicroelectronics have announced that MU’s US-304 portable ultrasound imager, powered by ST’s STHV800 pulser, is aiming to increase the quality of point-of-care medical diagnostics in Africa. MU’s device has been developed for the ‘Doctor Car’ mobile clinic project, which sees medical workers use a special vehicle equipped with remote healthcare systems to diagnose residents in remote rural areas where medical facilities are unavailable.

The MU US-304 is a convex-type ultrasonic imager (3.5 MHz) capable of performing abdominal diagnosis up to 15 cm under the skin. It can be carried anywhere and simply connected via USB to a laptop or tablet. The data obtained by the portable ultrasound device is transferred via mobile networks to healthcare entities in urban areas for detailed diagnosis and proper treatment.

The device integrates ST’s high-voltage, high-speed ultrasonic-pulser IC (integrated circuit) with an 8-channel transducer driver circuit manufactured in ST’s 200 V SOI-BCD semiconductor process. This process enables the integration of high-voltage CMOS technology, precise analog circuitry and robust power stages on the same chip. The pulser’s low noise and tiny size are said to help produce accurate diagnostic images at a much lower cost and power consumption compared with stationary ultrasound equipment.

“The challenge in developing point-of-care ultrasound diagnostic devices is to achieve high portability and low cost without sacrificing performance,” said MU President Yasuhiro Tamura. “ST technology has proven an ideal solution to this problem.”

ST also offers an evaluation board (STEVAL-IME013V1) that integrates the STHV800 pulser IC with an STM32F4 ARM Cortex-M microcontroller. The board’s graphical user interface and preset waveforms make it simple for designers to test the pulser under different conditions.

MU will start shipping the ultrasound imagers to Doctor Cars and clinics in Africa this year.

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