Researchers from John Hopkins University have developed an updated version of the good old stethoscope (a core piece of medical equipment which has remained largely unchanged since the 1800s) with some smart, cutting-edge additions.
This includes smart noise-filtering technology for enhancing the sound quality of chest readings. Perhaps even more importantly, the device uses A.I. technology to help automatically screen for pneumonia by listening for particular types of breathing on the part of patients.
As a result, the stethoscope itself can help provide diagnoses- a feature it didn’t have in the past.
“Sonavi Labs is now producing a digital stethoscope with three major differences. the digital stethoscope is less sensitive to precise placement on the body, it incorporates active noise control so that it can work in almost any environment, and it is able to detect abnormal lung sounds,” James West, a research professor of electrical, computer and mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins, told Digital Trends. “It is a smart system capable of identifying symptoms of pneumonia and other respiratory infections independent of a medically trained ear.”
The project is based on previous research from Johns Hopkins, showing just how crucial lung sounds can be in diagnosing pneumonia.
The stethoscope builds on this foundational research, by incorporating an onboard microprocessor and algorithms, capable of doing things like erasing the distracting sound of the heartbeat when a doctor is trying to listen to a patient’s lungs.
It can also use machine-learning technology to distinguish between people with pneumonia and those without — with an accuracy level reported at 87 percent.