Ultrasonic dental probe, attached to mount, metal / plastic / cardboard, made by the Ultrasonics Institute, Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia, 1963
The Ultrasonics Institute was internationally recognised as a world leader in the development of medical uses for ultrasound, commencing in 1959. The Institute's work followed on from that of its precursor, the Ultrasonics Research Section of the National Acoustic Laboratories in Sydney.
The Ultrasonics Institute team were the first world-wide to provide superior image definition and clarity by developing 'grey scale' imaging. This was a way of picking fine differences in ultrasound echoes bouncing off soft tissue in the human body and converting them into TV pictures. They were also among the first to employ annular ring transducers providing improved depth and precision of focusing. The Institute also developed ultrasonic systems and equipment for soft-tissue scans, including breast, abdomen, liver, eye, brain, genitalia and foetal areas.
This dental probe is significant as one of the first ultrasonic dental probes world-wide and a first in Australia. However, due to the wide spread success of X-ray technology in examination of teeth, Ultrasonics Institute discontinued this work by the mid 60's.
Written by Erika Dicker
Assistant Curator, 2007.
Ultrasonic dental probe based on a 10 MHz transducer produced in 1963 by Ultrasonics Institute in Chatswood, New South Wales.
Recognising the historical importance of this material, members of the team at the Ultrasonics Institute managed to preserve it even after the Institute was closed, and some of its research work was taken over by the CSIRO in 1989. In 2003, it was offered to the Powerhouse Museum by Dr. Robert Gill, General Manager of the Division of Telecommunications and Industrial Physics CSIRO. Dr. Gill was formerly a member of the Ultrasonics Institute team. The department also donated a sum of money to assist with the collection and cataloguing of the collection.
This dental probe was made in 1963, and is one of the first of its kind world-wide. Due to the difficulty of achieving clarity of signal from tooth enamel and bone, and the wide spread success of X-ray technology for examination of teeth, Ultrasonics Institute discontinued their work on teeth by the mid 60's.