Several hybrid tomographic methods utilizing ultrasound modulation have been introduced lately. Success of these methods hinges on the feasibility of focusing ultrasound waves at an arbitrary point of interest. Such focusing, however, is difficult to achieve in practice. We thus propose a way to avoid the use of focused waves through what we call synthetic focusing, i.e. by reconstructing the would-be response to the focused modulation from the measurements corresponding to realistic unfocused waves. Examples of reconstructions from simulated data are provided. This non-technical paper describes only the general concept, while technical details will appear elsewhere. © 2010 American Institute of Mathematical Sciences.