A team at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has prototyped a flexible patch containing tiny transducers for monitoring health conditions. When paired with a new algorithm, the patch becomes a new type of ultrasound device that enables medical professionals to continuously visualize their patient’s vital systems.

“We built a prototype device and have a patent pending,” says Dr. Abigail Juhl, a program manager in the lab’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate . “The use of this device may enable a single Airman to monitor the vital statistics of multiple patients simultaneously, freeing up other medical staff.”

With the flexible form factor, the algorithm determines the location of transducers and organizing the acoustic data into useful imagery.

The Air Force believes the new tech has the potential to replace or augment the hand-held wands operated by ultrasound technicians and also be used for monitoring patient respiration rate, heartbeat, or feeding tube placement, capabilities that are not currently available.

The flexible transducer prototype is seen curled around a metal object, with the imagery displayed on the screen behind it. (Credit: Air Force)

To help develop the technology into a widely used tool, the Air Force is inviting interested companies to learn more and discuss technology transfer.

Through cooperative research and development and a patent license agreement, private companies can leverage the Air Force’s research, gain access to its experts, and acquire rights for commercializing Air Force inventions.

TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary for technology transfer, is helping qualified companies navigate the licensing process at no charge.

This article was written by Donna Lindner, Air Force Research Laboratory. This article originally appeared on TechLink .