Ultrasound machines are an important piece of medical equipment. They are used every day for various reasons, but one of the most well known uses of the ultrasound is in pregnancy. Ultrasound machines have helped obstetricians to care for mothers and unborn babies and make sure that they have safe and happy births. They are also used to check the condition of internal organs for damage or tumors. Most people will have at least one ultrasound in their lifetimes as they are a vital tool in correctly identifying and treating medical conditions.
The Invention of the Ultrasound
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly who invented the ultrasound machine. The use of sound waves to detect masses has been used since the 1880’s when Pierre and Jacques Curie discovered the piezoelectric effect. In 1914, after the Titanic disaster, Paul Langevin investigated ways to detect icebergs. He and Constantin Chilowsky invented a higher frequency ultrasound machine called the hydrophone. It sent sound wave out and had a receiver to pick them up when they bounced off an object. It was also used during World War 1 to detect enemy submarines and the first German U-boat to be sunk was detected by the hydrophone.
Ultrasonic energy was first used for medical purposes by Dr. George Ludwig of the Naval Medical Research Institute in the late 1940’s. John Wilds used the medical ultrasound to detect the thickness of bowel tissue in 1949. Medical ultrasound was further developed in 1953 when cardiologist Inge Edler and Carl Hellmuth Hert used ultrasonography to take scans of the heart and later the brain. During the same timeframe a doctor in Glasgrow Scotland used the technique for diagnoses. Professor Ian Donald refined the technique for use in obstetric. It was used to measure the growth of the foetus. In 1962 three men named Joseph Holmes, William Wright, and Ralph Meyerdirk developed a specific type of ultrasound machine named a compound contact B-mode scanner.