IIT Bombay develops Social Distancing ‘Smart Stethoscope’ that can hear heartbeats from a distance

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IIT Bombay Researchers Develop AyuDevice Smart Stethoscope That Can Hear Heartbeats From a Distance During COVID-19 Quarantine

One of the high risks of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is the infection rate among health workers. The doctors, nurses, hospital workers run a direct risk of Corona Virus infection due to immediate and direct contact with the infected patients. In fact, there are several instances of the entire hospital being sealed off due to leak in quarantine. Hospitals around the world have come out with novel ideas to protect their workers from infection but none of the efforts are totally proving effective. Now, the premier research institute from India, Indian Institute of Technology of Bombay (IIT-B) has come out with a device called AyuDevice.

AyuDevice is a “smart stethoscope” that can listen to heartbeats from a distance and record them on the doctor/health worker’s smartphone using Bluetooth. AyuDevice minimizes the risk of direct contact of healthcare professionals with Corona Virus-infected patients. The heartbeat or the auscultated sound from a patient’s chest is wirelessly sent to the healthcare professional using Bluetooth, doing away with the need to go near and risk an infection themselves.

The lead researcher of IIT-B team is Prof. B. Ravi (Mechanical Engineering) and the AyuDevice has been patented by Ayu Devices Pvt. Ltd., an IITB startup formulated to commercially exploit the smart stethoscope.  Other research team members include Tapas Pandey, Adarsha K., Rupesh E. Ghyar, and Dr. Nambiraj Muppidathi Konarhas The IIT-B startup has received a patent for the device Digital Stethoscope at serial 71. AyuDevice has been patented for recording the auscultated sound and storing it wirelessly as part of a patient’s health record. This can be subsequently shared with other doctors for analysis as well as follow-ups.

IIT Bombay Researchers Develop AyuDevice Smart Stethoscope That Can Hear Heartbeats From a Distance During COVID-19 Quarantine

The startup has already sent a 1000 “AyuDevices” to different hospitals and healthcare centers across India for testing. The research team said that further development will take place after taking feedback from various field doctors. The research team was helped with clinical inputs from doctors at Reliance Hospital and PD Hinduja Hospital.

“Patients diagnosed with coronavirus often experience shortness of breath, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Doctors use (traditional) stethoscope to listen to chest sounds such as wheezing and crackles that appear with the progress of the disease,” one of the research team members, Adarhsa K said. He added that the AyuDevice “consists of a tube connected to two earpieces. The tube transmits sounds from the body while eliminating background noise that might interfere with diagnosis.”

“The second advantage is that the stethoscope is able to amplify and filter several sounds and translate them into an electronic signal, which can be further amplified for optimal listening,” he said describing their product. “The signal can then be displayed as a phonocardiogram on a smartphone or laptop. In contrast, a regular stethoscope is limited when it comes to amplifying sounds and there is no way of recording those sounds and sharing from one place to another. Even visualization is not possible, which means one cannot see the graph and identify abnormalities,” he added.

AyuDevice can be a boon in these depressed times when the number of COVID-19 infections are increasing at a fast clip all around the world. The major factor of this pandemic is that it doesn’t have a vaccine yet and poses a risk to doctors, as evident from the rising infections reported among healthcare professionals handling COVID-19 patients.

The COVID-19 infections world over stand at around 17,87,069 patients with more than 109,288 fatalities according to Worldometers website.

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