AbstractAir-coupled ultrasound has shown excellent sensitivity and specificity for the nondestructive imaging of wood-based material. However, it is time-consuming, due to the high scanning density limited by the Nyquist law. This study investigated the feasibility of applying compressed sensing techniques to air-coupled ultrasound imaging, aiming to reduce the number of scanning lines and then accelerate the imaging. Firstly, an undersampled scanning strategy specified by a random binary matrix was proposed to address the limitation of the compressed sensing framework. The undersampled scanning can be easily implemented, while only minor modification was required for the existing imaging system. Then, discrete cosine transform was selected experimentally as the representation basis. Finally, orthogonal matching pursuit algorithm was utilized to reconstruct the wood images. Experiments on three real air-coupled ultrasound images indicated the potential of the present method to accelerate air-coupled ultrasound imaging of wood. The same quality of ACU images can be obtained with scanning time cut in half.