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I'm building a medical ultrasound scanner as an educational DSP project. I'm not expecting to produce something medical grade, but I do want to be able to detect the location of a high-density ball bearing inside a low-density balloon of ballistic gel. I'm putting together my prototype with a Saxo/FlashyD FPGA sensor acquisition device and a batch of SPM0404UD5 ultrasonic sensors, because they're cheap SMDs and I don't know why they'd be inappropriate.

I'd like to use ultrasound transducers similar to those used in medical ultrasound equipment, but unfortunately the manufacturers of those devices don't seem to publish data sheets. Also, I'm not sure who would sell such components, but it ain't digikey.

Any idea what sort of sensors they use?

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What's your budget? –  Tony Stewart Dec 5 '12 at 3:11
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blatek.com/med_Bscan.aspx –  Tony Stewart Dec 5 '12 at 3:21
    
@Richman, my budget is $100 each. The sensors I'm currently working with are $4 each. For SMD components, I think that qualifies as a virtually unlimited budget, but perhaps the medical world is expensive in ways I can't comprehend. –  M_M Dec 7 '12 at 0:21
    
@Richman, re: blatek.com/med_Bscan.aspx , this is another company offering integrated solutions when I'm hoping for ICs or SMD components. I'm hoping to learn how to do one of the stages a company like blatek does, sensor housing, so I'm hoping to find a supplier of more application-appropriate raw components. –  M_M Dec 7 '12 at 0:23
    
SMD surface area may not have enough emitter area to apply the power you need. –  Tony Stewart Dec 7 '12 at 0:28
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I have no particular knowledge of what's used in medical scanners, but in general your bare-parts ultrasound transducer tends to be a piezo disc (perhaps multiples for this application, so you might want to look at particularly small ones, I might guess at a line array given the shape of the things my Vet has used on my cat.)

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You could use PROWAVE - SRM400 which has the entire module of transmitter and receiver with signal conditioning in built. Similar product - Ping))) Ultrasonic sensor by parallax should do the job for you and in a much easier may. Both of them are very easily available online.

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The OP is not asking about ultrasonic ranging, but about an ultrasonic scanner. –  Alejandro Feb 18 '13 at 17:56
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