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What is Acoustic Imaging?

June 28, 2022
Minute Read 
Example of acoustic imaging being used to find an air leak

What is Acoustic Imaging?

Acoustic imaging. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? Almost like, “earth air” or “awake asleep”. And yet, it’s not contradictory at all!

Acoustic imaging is the use of ultrasound to produce real-time images of almost undetectable (to humans anyway) noise. In other words, acoustic imaging allows us to see sounds.

Still confused?

Maybe this will help: think of an acoustic imager as an array of sophisticated microphones which convert sound into an image. It relies on waves to produce pictures instead of vibrating sounds (i.e. the way your ear does), to show where seemingly undetectable leaks might be (sound changes) so technicians can repair them.

Let’s dive a bit deeper

Acoustic imaging translates sounds that it hears into a visual representation (or map) so we can quickly locate problem areas. By integrating with factory systems, it can also serve as an early warning system to avoid equipment failure and will detect, locate and visualize air and gas leaks or sound signature changes. It also produces a precise acoustic image that visually displays ultrasonic information, even in loud, industrial environments. The acoustic image is overlaid in real time, allowing the user to accurately pinpoint the source of the sound. It also allows for a more precise alert system, ending the toil of alert fatigue.

The past meets the future

Sound has been used in medicine for a very long time. Hippocrates (the Greek physician) invented a method for detecting fluid in the lungs. He would take patients by their shoulders, shake them and listen to the sounds coming from their chests. Likewise, the stethoscope could be called an analog ultrasound device. Moreover, acoustic imaging is already helping medical professionals (i.e. ultrasounds).

With acoustic imaging, we’re currently able to visualize the invisible before incidents (leaks, etc) can occur. You could say acoustic imaging is a glimpse into the future by way of the (seemingly) invisible and unheard.

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