Ultra low power wearable ultrasound probe
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 are developing the next generation of wearable ultrasound probes. A compact and power-efficient probe is needed to maximize lifetime and wearability: we are targeting very low power consumptions (< 100 mW), using only a few channels (<8), and exploiting low-power wireless link.
Goal & Tasks
The project aims to build a prototype of a low-power wearable US platform and characterize its performance (power consumption, frame rate) under the scenario of ultrasound data acquisition from a reduced number of channels. The proposed system architecture is based on an MSP430 MCU, which is equipped with an Ultrasound Sensing front-end (USS), that is used to sequentially excite the transducer channels, sample the backscattered signal with 12 bit 8 Msps analog-to-digital (ADC) converter, and store the raw data in a RAM. Once the internal buffer of the MSP430 is full, an external Nordic NRF52xx MCU reads the raw US data via SPI interface and then transmits the packages over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) link. The combination of the BLE technology (up to 2 Mbps) with a highly integrated and ultrasound MCU is expected to enable a novel ultrasound sensing solution with lower power consumption, smaller size, and larger capabilities compared to competitors.
The main tasks of this project are:
- Programming of the MSP430 evaluation board to optimize data transfer rate and power consumption
- Programming the NRF52 evaluation board to optimize wireless data transfer rate and power consumption
- PCB design of an integrated probe
- embedded C
- PCB design
- 10% Literature Study
- 65% Microcontroller programming
- 25% PCB design