3D ultrasounds have become commonplace in the last few years, but the sound waves generated by an ultrasound machine need somewhere in the neighborhood of one-thousand sensors to compile a three-dimensional extrapolation of its target.

Now, a research team at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, led by biomedical engineer Pieter Kruizinga, have developed sophisticated compressive-sensing software that uses only a single sensor in the ultrasound device to create detailed 3D images. By laying a “coded aperture mask,” a plastic piece with numerous bumps, ridges, and valleys, over a single sensor, the software can decode the slight variations in returned sound waves, simulating the effect of hundreds or thousands of sensors.

Click here to read more about this sensor research on Science Mag.