The old stethoscope could soon be replaced by a smarter device developed by researchers from IIT-Kharagpur and an institute here which converts sound into images to make it easier for doctors to diagnose lung diseases.
Developed by researchers of the premier technological institute in collaboration with the Institute of Pulmocare and Research (IPCR), Kolkata, the core technology has been patented after successful field trials.
"The lung sound analyser is non-invasive and very easy to use. It converts signals into images, which makes detection of a disease easier and in-depth. Detection is much more precise," IIT-Kharagpur, Director, Partha Pratim Chakrabarti told reporters here today.
Pulmonologist PS Bhattacharyya, who developed the device along with IIT electronic engineer Goutam Saha, said they have so far identified a digital signature of interstitial lung disease and once they come up with digital signatures of six or seven other diseases, it could be introduced in the market.
The device would have special relevance in rural areas where health infrastructure was inadequate, he said.
"Even a lay person will be able to use it and then transmit the image using a smartphone. The doctor sitting at a remote location will then interpret the disease after seeing the image," the pulmonologist said.
He said that the product was now at a very basic stage and may find application in newer areas gradually.
Saha said the embedded system could be produced at a cheap cost to ensure its mass utilisation.
The invention was recently featured in medical journal, 'Respirology'.