CBC New Brunswick: Saint John native wins award for biomedical engineering work

A Saint John native has received national recognition for his work in biomedical engineering, designing smaller, more efficient electronics in therapeutic ultrasound.

Hugo Vihvelin, 27, recently completed his masters degree at Dalhousie University and has been awarded a Mitacs award for outstanding innovation in his field.

“In the electronics world when you develop something that is more efficient you are also able to make it a lot smaller,” said Vihvelin. 

“So for ultrasound systems this really opens up the door for wider applicability and you’re able to start to use them in areas you’ve previously been unable to.”

Vihvelin said people immediately link ultrasound technology to imaging of a baby, but it can be used for a variety of things including non-invasive surgeries.

“You can apply ultrasound from outside the body to do things like eliminate a tumour.. that is one of the ones I’m really interested in,” said Vihvelin.

“The areas in which you can use ultrasound continue to grow. The more we can facilitate that, the better.”

Vihvelin said his interest in engineering began while he attended Harbourview High School in Saint John.

“In my Grade 12 year I was inspired to seek out different opportunities by the great teachers I had there. I was interested in the engineering field and  medical field and biomedical engineering seemed to be the perfect fit.”

Already, Vihvelin said the developments with his research are coming to life. His smaller ultrasound technology is in the development stages and will be on the market next year.

“It’s moving very fast and keeping us all very busy, it’s pretty exciting.”