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1. (WO2017001962) PROCÉDÉS, APPAREILS ET SYSTÈMES POUR ACCOUPLER UN TRANSDUCTEUR SOUPLE À UNE SURFACE
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus comprising:

a transducer array having a first surface and a second surface opposite the first surface, the second surface configured to be placed against an object to be imaged;

a bladder adjacent the first surface of the transducer array, the bladder configured to be inflated by a fluid; and

a strap configured to wrap around the bladder and the object, wherein the strap and the bladder are configured to maintain a force against the first surface of the transducer array.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a pump coupled to the bladder, the pump configured to inflate the bladder with the fluid.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a gauge coupled to the bladder, the gauge configured to determine a pressure of the fluid.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the bladder comprises a plurality of compartments configured to be inflated by the fluid.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the plurality of compartments are fluidly coupled.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the transducer array is a flexible transducer array.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the transducer array includes a channel in the second surface.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:

a pump configured to inflate the bladder with the fluid; and

a controller coupled to the pump and configured to control the pump to inflate the bladder to a desired pressure.

9. An ultrasound system comprising:

a flexible transducer array configured to transmit an ultrasound signal;

a beamformer coupled to the flexible transducer array, the beamformer configured to control the ultrasound signal;

a transducer positioning device configured to maintain a position of the flexible transducer array against an object, the transducer positioning device comprising:

a bladder configured to be inflated; and

a strap configured to maintain the bladder in contact with the flexible transducer array.

10. The ultrasound system of claim 9, wherein the flexible transducer array includes a strain sensor configured to provide a signal to the beamformer, wherein the signal is indicative of a position of the flexible transducer array.

11. The ultrasound system of claim 9, wherein the flexible transducer array includes a tag configured to provide a signal to the beamformer, wherein the signal is indicative of a position of the flexible transducer array.

12. The ultrasound system of claim 1 1, further comprising an electromagnetic field generator configured to generate the signal provided by the tag.

13. The ultrasound system of claim 9, wherein the flexible transducer array is continuously flexible.

14. The ultrasound system of claim 9, wherein the flexible transducer array is piecewise flexible.

15. The ultrasound system of claim 9, wherein the strap comprises an elastic material.

16. The ultrasound system of claim 9, wherein the strap comprises a fastener configured to secure the strap to an object.

17. The ultrasound system of claim 16, wherein the fastener is configured to release when a force on the strap exceeds a threshold.

18. A method comprising :

applying an ultrasound transducer to a surface of an object;

applying a bladder to a surface of the ultrasound transducer distal to the object; applying a strap to the bladder and the object; and

inflating the bladder.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising applying a gel to the surface of the object prior to applying the ultrasound transducer to the surface of the object.

20. The method of claim 18, further comprising acquiring an image with the ultrasound transducer.