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Since the COVID-19 outbreak, researchers are in full swing to develop effective equipment to deal with the infection. From AI tool that predicts infected COVID-19 cases to virus-scanning tool for vaccine development, from the musical structure of COVID-19 to Bluetooth-based COVID-19 tracking tool, scientists are continuously making efforts to find a way to fight the pandemic.
Among these developments, a team of researchers from IIT Bombay have developed a 'digital stethoscope' for healthcare workers to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19. So, what exactly is it?
What Is Digital Stethoscope?
A digital stethoscope is a Bluetooth-based stethoscope which is capable of listening and recording heartbeats of a person from a distance, without any actual close contact. With the help of this device, a doctor or a medical expert can effortlessly hear the sound of a patient's chest without actually going near them.
How Does It Work?
The digital stethoscope is a device with a tube connected to two earpieces. The tube is meant for transmitting the auscultated sound from the patient's chest and earpieces to hear and examine the noise. The digital stethoscope magnifies the sound of the chest and transmits them wirelessly to a medical expert. It also stores them so that the follow-up doctors can take help from it for proper examination. The device is made in such a way that it eliminates all the background noises for proper diagnosis.
Another advantage of a digital stethoscope is that it translates the auscultated sound into an electrical signal and sends them to phonocardiogram or laptop via Bluetooth. To mention, phonocardiogram is a device that monitors the sound of the heart and represents them in the form of waves.
Why Is It Developed?
COVID-19 patients often experience symptoms such as shortness of breath and other respiratory distress syndromes. Usually, a medical expert goes near the patient to check the breathing with the help of a stethoscope and this increases the risk of COVID-19 infection as the virus spreads mainly through infected droplets like cough or sneeze.
The digital stethoscope will prevent the risk of infection to healthcare workers by allowing them to monitor the breathing and pulse from a safe distance.
More than 1000 digital stethoscopes are in use across the country. Till the vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, the best way to cope with the situation is by preventing it. Hope this new method will be helpful for healthcare workers who are working day and night putting their lives on the lines.