With the help of a sticky, stretchy material, scientists design a continuous ultrasound system

It took hundreds of failed experiments, sticking gummy gels to all sorts of surfaces, for scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to get what they were looking for: a material so adhesive, it could cement a device to the skin for two full days while still letting sound waves pass through.

The resulting platform, described in new research published in Science, can be used for tools like wearable ultrasound probes that help provide continuous, hands-free monitoring of internal tissue and organs. Where imaging devices were once bulky and stand-alone, they now have the potential to comfortably move with a person for hours or days at a timeExperts said the device has an imaging quality comparable to that of commercially sold systems.

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