Thinklabs offers a high-tech take on the stethoscope
By Ben Coxworth
June 6, 2014
Not unlike the fire hydrant, the humble stethoscope is a device that has remained mostly unchanged for quite a long time. Colorado-based Thinklabs Medical, however, is out to change that. The company recently announced its One digital stethoscope, that can electronically amplify chest sounds by over 100x, and analyze that audio via a smartphone app.
The One's chestpiece features a simple electronic display indicating battery life, volume and frequency. Utilizing its standard 3.5-mm headphone jack, users can plug in a set of phones of their choice, although the standard package does include a set of earbuds. The headphone jack also serves as the battery-charging port, with one or two charges of the lithium-ion battery (via a USB charger) being required per week, depending on the amount of use.
Using the Thinklabs Stethoscope app (iOS, Android, Mac or PC), doctors are able to make and then selectively filter audio recordings in order to better listen for specific conditions. They can also slow down and isolate specific sounds, or share recordings with other physicians.
Utilizing the company's separate iMurmur app, users can additionally listen to sample recordings of different types of heart murmurs, and even compare those with recordings of their own patients. The hard-wired Thinklink bridging device is required to hook the One up to a mobile device or computer, and is included with the stethoscope.
The One can be ordered now, for an introductory price of US$499. A deluxe package including a set of Beats headphones is priced at $799.