Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Virtual Touch

PostedNovember 14, 2008

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins: When your doctor feels for potentially cancerous growths, she can’t sense lumps much below the skin surface.  But an experimental device using sound waves may allow much deeper virtual probing.  

Kathy Nightingale: We’re using focused sound to mechanically excite the tissue or actually push on the tissue in a focused location inside the body.

Randy Atkins: Kathy Nightingale, a Duke University biomedical engineer, says that tiny push – which moves tissues less than the width of a human hair – still creates detectible waves, much like dropping a pebble in water.

Kathy Nightingale: The speed of those waves increases with the stiffness of the tissue.  So the stiffer it is the faster they’ll move.

Randy Atkins: And the more likely it’s a cancer.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103 point 5 F-M, WTOP Radio.