An ultrasonic imaging apparatus with stethoscope-like capabilities
Currently, Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) has increasing applications and is being used in more and more fields of medicine from pre-hospital care providers to nurses, to physicians in almost every field of medicine. There is increasing talk in the medical literature that ultrasound (US) will replace the stethoscope. However, US uses sound waves from 3-12 MHz but the ear can only hear up to 20,000 Hz.
Therefore, lung sounds such as wheezing, or heart sounds, cannot be picked up by US. Thus, the use of POCUS only without the stethoscope may lead to misdiagnosis of serious illness.
In addition, the clinician has to walk around with 2 devices: (1) US; and (2) Stethoscope. Our UltraScope solves this solution by allowing both US and stethoscope technology in one device.
Given the additive nature of sound waves, the aural band signals are present in the ultrasonic signal, which can be thought of as a carrier. We propose to leverage a demodulation algorithm which has been used successfully in mid-frequency passive sonars, operating at approximately 3 kHz to 5 kHz, to detect low frequency signals, in the 10 Hz to 100 Hz region which similarly are present additively in the mid-frequency signal.
The ability to see and hear a phenomenon simultaneously, obviously leads to better diagnoses, and treatment.
Ronald Mitnick, Senior Acoustics Consultant, formerly Principal Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Anywhere where Point-of-Care Ultrasound is utilized
Despite novelty, appeal, and modest costs (less than 10,000 dollars per device), pocket-sized ultrasonography will encounter many challenges to widespread adoption.
In order to generalize and standardize use, there will be the need for development of suitable imaging protocols for these smaller devices, akin to physical exam.
The global stethoscope market size was valued at USD 550 million in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 0.92 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.7%.
The global Portable US Scanners Market Size was valued at $2.2 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $3.8 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.8% from 2022 to 2031.
Priority application filed