ULTRA

Artist Melanie King collaborates with Scientist Carlos Cueto to explore his research into the potential of ultrasound to diagnose strokes quickly and safely

Listen

Artist Melanie King takes you inside the brain to listen to ultrasound waves travelling through the organ. The piece is created using data from a simulation experiment in which the human brain is modelled using mathematics. Each sound motif correlates to the ultrasound wave passing through a different structure, from blood vessels to neurons.

Melanie is consistently inspired by the innovation and hope that science brings. She was excited by the opportunity to communicate the potential of ultrasound to improve lives by diagnosing strokes at a much faster speed, as well as by the chance to create unique artworks.

Play

PLAY WITH ULTRASOUND

Scientist Carlos Cueto takes you inside the brain to explore how ultrasound could be used to detect blood clots or burst vessels. Play with waves and explore how they become distorted with each added obstacle. In his research, Carlos is developing algorithms that could interpret the ultrasound signal to help diagnose strokes.

Carlos was interested in the opportunity to collaborate with an artist, using expertise from two seemingly different disciplines, as a way to make ultrasound tangible and visible. He aims to open a conversation between the public and researchers in which to explore how ultrasound can be used to image the brain.

The Research

Ultrasound is a high frequency sound wave that is beyond the range of human hearing. It is safe and fast, and has been used to image the human body, from babies to bladders, for decades. But not the adult brain.

To harness ultrasound to image the brain, algorithms are being developed that interpret the signal. This would allow blood clots or burst vessels, which can cause strokes, to be quickly identified.

This could be life saving. Strokes are the second most common cause of death worldwide and the leading cause for acquired adult neurological disability. Strokes must be diagnosed and treated quickly for treatment to be effective. Delays of just 15 minutes can drastically alter patient outcomes.

Have your say

Share your thoughts to help share the future of healthcare technologies.

Previous responses

What surprised you most about this research?

That the motion of ultrasound waves are different in the various parts of the brain.

What comes to mind when you think of Ultrasound?

Babies in the womb.

What surprised you most about this research?

The various ways that are being explored to use ultrasounds! It can prevent strokes from happening if a clot is spotted using the ultrasound.

What comes to mind when you think of Ultrasound?

Bats and their primitive use of ultrasound to detect food and navigate space.

What would you do with a recording of the sound of your brain?

Play it to friends to demo’ I both had a brain and it sounds beautiful.

What would you do with a recording of the sound of your brain?

It would be cool to have one when you're young and one when you're old, as record of your brain structure, and thus your personality, have changed.

What surprised you most about this research?

It’s amazing ultrasound could be used to identify disease and algorithms developed could help save lives!

What surprised you most about this research?

The fact ultrasound has never been used on the adult brain before!

What would you do with a recording of the sound of your brain?

Make music with it and show my friends and family.

Sound waves used to create an image of inside the body.

Sound waves used to create an image of inside the body.

What comes to mind when you think of Ultrasound?

Very high pitched sounds which the human ear cannot hear. They can be heard by dogs and , perhaps, other animals too. I can visualize them as waves of colours gradually changing nuances.

What would you do with a recording of the sound of your brain?

I would listen to it with interest and surprise.

What comes to mind when you think of Ultrasound?

Like a laser passing through the water

What would you do with a recording of the sound of your brain?

Make a comparison with others who also have the record

ARTIST

Melanie King

Melanie King is a visual artist, lecturer and curator. King is a PhD Candidate at the Royal College of Art and a graduate of the MA in Art and Science at Central Saint Martins. Melanie’s work aims to demonstrate the intimate material connection between living beings, the environment and the universe at large. Melanie’s PhD considers how light travels thousands, if not millions of years, before reaching photosensitive film or a digital sensor. Melanie is consistently inspired by the innovation and hope that science brings. King was excited by the opportunity to communicate the potential of ultrasound to improve lives by diagnosing strokes at a much faster speed, as well as by the chance to create unique artworks.

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SCIENTIST

Carlos Cueto

Carlos Cueto is a PhD Researcher at Imperial College London, where he works on developing new ways to image the structure and function of the brain that are cheap, portable and safe to use on humans. He was interested in this opportunity to collaborate with an artist, using expertise from two seemingly different disciplines, as a way to make ultrasound tangible, visible, so that the public can interact with it. This aims to open a conversation between the public and researchers in which to explore how ultrasound can be used to image the brain.