Ultrasonic Sensor Top Page > So many things ultrasonic sensors can do!

So many things ultrasonic sensors can do!
What can ultrasonic sensors do?

Ultrasonic sensors have definitely diversified functions including "detection" of what you cannot see, "measurement" of length, thickness and amount, and "destruction" of objects. They have many uses in medicine as well as in other various advanced technologies including electronics, chemicals and construction. Some examples of what ultrasonic sensors can do are introduced here.


DetectionMeasurementDestruction


Detection

Fetuses (pregnant women)

Fetuses (pregnant women)

An ultrasonic sensor applied to the abdomen of a pregnant woman sends ultrasonic waves into the body and receives the echoes back from the inside, which are used for making visual images.
These real time images showing the appearance and movement of the fetus allow observation of the development of the fetus.
With this technology, the baby's parents can be deeply aware of their offspring and feel a sense of security when they see their baby on the screen in a form very close to reality.
Unlike radiography involving exposure to radiation, ultrasound imaging is a safe and worry-free technology.


Organs (tissues)

Organs (tissues)

An ultrasonic sensor applied to the surface of the human body sends ultrasonic waves into the body and receives the echoes back from the inside. From these echoes, the shape and movement of internal organs and tissues can be visualized, making it possible to detect any abnormality earlier.
With this technology called elastography, the stiffness of tissues in the body can be indicated by different colors on the screen, facilitating detection of tumors.
The elastography can be used to determine not only the presence of tumors but also their size and invasion depth.


Thickness of subcutaneous fat/muscles

Thickness of subcutaneous fat/muscles

An ultrasonic sensor applied to the surface of the human body sends ultrasonic waves and receives the echo back from the inside. The echoes are used to image subcutaneous fat and muscles to determine the thickness of them.
The image data can be routinely obtained to determine the effects of your physical exercise and diet practices, supporting your health care and diet control.


Foreign substances contained in food

Foreign substances contained in food

An ultrasonic sensor applied to food sends ultrasonic waves and receives the echoes from it. The echoes are used to visualize the internal condition.
This imaging allows detection of any foreign substances contained in the food such as acrylic pieces.
The ultrasonic detection is thus beneficial to quality inspection in food manufacturing plants.


Internal of concrete/metals

Internal of concrete/metals

While travelling through a bulk of materials, an ultrasonic wave is reflected at an interface between different materials. This nature can be used to detect the presence of flaws in concrete or metals.
It is also possible to determine the exact depth of a flaw by multiplying the time of propagation of the ultrasonic wave with the speed of sound. In this way ultrasonic sensors can be used to detect any internal cracks and other flaws without destructing the target materials. They are used in various applications including degradation diagnosis, seismic diagnosis and pre-shipment product inspection.



Measurement

Distance

Distance

When an ultrasonic wave is transmitted toward a target, it is reflected at an interface between different materials and an echo is returned. Measuring the time interval between sending the sound wave and receiving the echo will determine the distance to the target.
Ultrasonic distance measurement can be applied to any medium through which sound can travel such as air, liquids and metals.


Flow velocity/rate

Flow velocity/rate

An ultrasonic sensor is installed in the upstream and in the downstream of a flow each to determine the difference in time of propagation caused by the flow, which can be used to calculate the flow rate.
Besides the propagation time difference detection stated above, there are other methods to determine the flow rate. One of them is the Doppler method with which an ultrasonic wave is applied to air bubbles or foreign substances in the liquid and the frequency variation of the echo is determined to calculate the flow rate.


Eye axis length

Eye axis length

A probe applied to the surface of the cornea transmits an ultrasonic wave and receives the echo. From the propagation time of the echo, the length of the eye axis (the distance between the surface of the eye (cornea) and the back end of the eye (retina) = Diameter of the eyeball) can be determined.



Destruction

Cells

Cells

Applying ultrasonic energy into the human body will generate thermal energy, which causes a heating effect that can destroy cells. This application is useful for treatment of cancer.




 

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