A new "tricorder" technology developed at Stanford University use microwaves and ultrasound to detect early cancer stages and potentially "hear" growing tumors. Moreover, the researchers believe that their system will be more portable and less expensive than other medical imaging devices, such as MRI or CT, and safer than X-rays.

Stanford engineers are using microwaves and ultra-sound to create a safe and portable way to detect hidden objects.
(Credit: Arbabian Lab)

Prior medical research has shown that tumors grow additional blood vessels to nourish their cancerous growth. Blood vessels absorb heat differently than surrounding tissue. Using ultrasound, the medical device reveals the tumors as "hotspots."

"We think we could develop instrumentation sufficiently sensitive to disclose the presence of tumors, and perhaps other health anomalies, much earlier than current detection systems, non-intrusively and with a handheld portable device," said Assistant Professor Amin Arbabian.

A video of the technology can be viewed on Tech Briefs TV.