MEMS and Sensors

USound enters healthcare tech industry with MEMS sensor

07 April 2022
The MEMS speaker developed by USound that will allow headphones used in MRI scanning to reduce its form factor. Source: USound

Audio chip startup USound has entered into the healthcare technology industry with the introduction of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) speakers that are compliant for MRI-compatible headphones and accessories.

MRI uses magnetic fields to create images of a patient’s body. The noises from an MRI machine range from 65 to 130 decibels, requiring the patient to wear ear protection. Healthcare workers use music to reduce anxiety and claustrophobia in patients. However, conventional headphones can’t be worn due to the strong magnetic fields.

The headphones used in MRI machines are of the pneumatic type with a loudspeaker located outside of the actual machine with long plastic tubes connecting the transducer to the ear of the patient.

Using the MEMS speaker from USound will allow these headphones to reduce its form factor to be slimmer. NordicNeuroLab is working with USound to develop headphones that will help healthcare providers to give communication, entertainment and audible cues to patients while undergoing MRI scans.

“From an acoustics perspective, the connected tube model adds a half-wave resonance with multiple harmonics to the sound, strongly reducing sound quality. That is not ideal for patient relaxation,” said Ferruccio Bottoni, CEO of USound. “USound MEMS speakers are available without ferromagnetic materials and at a lower price than electrostatic transducers.”

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@globalspec.com


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