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Improving datarate and efficiency of ultra low power wearable ultrasound

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Short Description

Ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive imaging technique that provides visible information on the structure of musculoskeletal tissues and organs. The development of wearable ultrasound probes would enable real-time non-invasive continuous monitoring of physiological parameters during the day, which is of particular interest for medical therapies and sport science. At IIS, we have developed the next generation of wearable ultra low power (ULP) ultrasound probes [1], which is based on an MSP430 MCU for handling the ultrasound signal generation and reception, and an nRF52 MCU for handling Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) data streaming. The probe consumes less than 20 mW at 50 Hz frame rates. Spark transceivers [2] recently appeared as a promising solution for enhancing the datarate and further reducing the power consumption of our wearable ultrasound systems.

Goal & Tasks

The project aims to evaluate Spark ICs for point-to-point communication of wearable ultrasound. Starting from the existing architectural concept of the existing ULP probe, we aim to replace the BLE link with a Spark system. To this end, the student will start working with evaluation boards, replacing the nRF52 with an STM32 + Spark communication link. After demonstrating the successful operation at lower power consumption, a new PCB based on the novel transceiver will be designed, fabricated and tested.

The main tasks of this project are:

  • Evaluating the performance of a Spark transceiver for wearable ultrasound, replacing the nRF52 MSU currently used in the ULP probe, at evaluation boards level
  • PCB design of an integrated probe that uses STM32 MCU + Spark transceiver instead of nRF52 MCUs.


  • [1] Ultra low power wearable ultrasound probe
  • [2] Spark transceivers


  • Python
  • embedded C
  • PCB design

Status: Available

Supervision: Andrea Cossettini, Sergei Vostrikov


10% Literature Study
65% Microcontroller programming
25% PCB design


Luca Benini

Practical Details

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