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For material testing and medicine

With a lot of visibility: Canadian-born Michael Afanasiev is developing software that is opening new paths in ultrasound technology.


How’s the doctoral thesis going, Michael?

Very well, thanks. I finished my PhD at the ETH last Friday.

Congratulations! You are staying faithful to your subject area. What exactly is it about?

It’s about making noticeable improvements in ultrasound technology. The devices used today measure the time which a sound wave or its echo takes – and from this an image of the structures beneath the surface can be generated. Our software, in contrast, evaluates not only the “flight time” of the sound waves but also their different forms. This has two advantages – we acquire more information, and we are also able to investigate complex geometric objects.

Where do you see the application areas for this new technology?

Wherever ultrasound is already playing an important role: In non-destructive material testing and in medical diagnostics.

These two target markets are not closely related. Do you already have any ideas about how to market your innovation?

The medical technology industry is strictly regulated, so the entrance hurdle for a startup is high. In this case, we would probably have to work together with a medical imaging company. However, we would like to tackle the material testing market ourselves. Here we see ourselves as a software provider and consultant.

So what is the next step?

At the moment, we are applying for a Pioneer Fellowship at ETH, as well as for participation in the Innovation Discovery Program Bridge Discovery run jointly by CTI and the Swiss National Science Foundation.


Michael Afanasiev participated in the Business Concept course in autumn 2016.