UConn student patents soft robotic ultrasonic transducer technology

An echocardiogram is a cardiac echo, or simple an ultrasound of the heart. Serena Beri recently patented new technology regarding this. Photo by Los Muertos Crew/Pixels

A University of Connecticut undergraduate student recently developed and patented a technology that could assist ultrasound technicians in creating echocardiograms, according to UConn Today.  

Serena Beri, a seventh-semester biological sciences student, and STEM Scholar, developed this technology with the hopes that it could help stabilize echocardiogram images.  

Echocardiograms are medical devices that use sound to create accurate images of the chambers and valves of the heart so doctors can see how the heart is functioning. It is an instrumental tool in determining heart disease in patients, so getting an accurate picture is important. Even experienced ultrasound technicians have trouble getting a consistent picture, and performing an echocardiogram can induce injury in the technician.  

“It’s finicky!” Beri said in a UConn Today article, “The slightest movement could lose the image. I thought there might be a better way.” 

According to the UConn Today article by Kim Krieger, Beri thought that this problem could be avoided. Through years of experience in robotics, including as a member of her high school’s robotics team, Beri created a soft robotic ultrasonic transducer.  

“She thought of a soft robot with an octagonal base and spider like-frame, with several linear actuatable arms and locomotive legs to move the transducer,” Krieger described.   

This technology would make the robotic transducer more accurate and steadier than any human technician as well as take the strain of using the ultrasonic transducer off the technician.  

Encouraged by peers, mentors and a cardiologist she had been shadowing, Beri was encouraged to patent the technology. She filed the patent in May 2018, and it was recently granted. Beri says that now that the technology is patented, she will work to make it a viable product to create a more accurate and less laboring ultrasonic transducer. 

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