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AIST Introduces Portable Ultrasound Which Measures Muscles, Bones, and Subcutaneous Fat.

Tokyo, Japan, Oct 20, 2005 - (JCN Newswire) - AIST has announced a portable ultrasound echographic machine (Ubiquitous Echo) was developed through joint research between the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Hiroshima Institute of Technology. The unit can be used in health care or beauty facilities, or even in the home, to visualize the key components of the body (muscles, bones, subcutaneous fat) and give fat and muscle measurements. It is hoped that this technology will help to prevent elderly people from being confined to their beds.

Users connect Ubiquitous Echo to their personal computers and use the included software to collect detailed information about specific parts of the body. The ultrasonic echography equipment traditionally used in medical examinations is prohibitively expensive and too large to be used by health care and beauty facilities or in the home. This new machine is small, lightweight, and inexpensive and can even be put into a bag along with a laptop computer and carried around.

The Hiroshima Institute of Technology conducts field studies with around one thousand subjects every year. They are investigating the relationship between ultrasonic images and health information, and they are developing various health care programs.

Certain problems affect people as they age: obesity in children, diseases related to lifestyle choices in middle-aged people, and the possibility of becoming bedridden in later years. The balance between bones, muscles, and fats in the body is one of the most basic indicators of a person's health. In recent years, bathroom scales have been developed that can measure these percentages easily. However, these measurements are not completely accurate and they do not provide exact information on specific parts of the body, such as arms, legs, or stomach.

In the fields of exercise physiology and sports sciences, body composite measurements of subcutaneous fat and the thickness of muscles have been done with ultrasonic equipment for medical use. The merits of using such visualization methods are indeed impressive, but the fact that such high-cost ultrasonic equipment is used means that these methods cannot be widely implemented outside of research laboratories.

Since 2002, AIST and the Hiroshima Institute of Technology have been working on the development of a portable ultrasonic imaging device that could be used in healthcare. The product was finally developed in 2004 with the co-operation of Healthy Step Ltd., an enterprise that became interested in this research, and with the assistance of the AIST Small and Medium Enterprises R & D Support Program.

AIST, the Hiroshima Institute of Technology and Healthy Step are developing this product through a new venture business called Global Health ( which was created with the support of the AIST Innovation Center for Start-ups (part of the Strategic Research Base Upbringing project subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Special Coordination Fund for Promoting Science and Technology). The product went on the market in April 2005.

This new device was made with patent-pending technology. It is smaller, lighter, and costs less than traditional medical devices. It can be connected to a regular personal computer and can undertake a wide range of functions through its software, depending on the user's needs. The data can be stored on the user's hard disk and can be sent easily to other places through the internet.

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Publication:JCN Newswires
Date:Oct 23, 2005
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