George K. Lewis, the Cornell biomedical engineering graduate student, developed numerous prototypes of the ultrasound devices, until he came up with the smallest possible and most effective one. The miniature device has a coin-sized transducer that delivers low-intensity ultrasound to the skin. The ultrasound waves are quite mild so that they can be applied to the skin up to 10 hours.
The mini ultrasound can well be used at home to relieve muscle or joint pain without the necessity to visit doctor's office. This will be especially useful for older people, because pain relief drugs are not always suitable for them because of the increased risk of negative outcomes.
Lewis gets ready for the first clinical trial that studies the effectiveness of the device on the osteoarthritis patients. This will be the first step towards the FDA approval, Lewis says. He says that in future the mini ultrasound device can be used to treat muscles pain and even to deliver medicines.
The study is supported by the National Science Foundation.