Device Innovations Abound in Phones that Act Like Stethoscopes and Virtual Reality Surgery

June 13, 2023

Medical devices continue to take advantage of the technological advances we see in every part of our lives, from phones to virtual reality headsets, with several new devices seeing FDA clearances in the past few weeks.

Sparrow BioAcoustics recently announced FDA clearance for its software that allows smartphones to be used as stethoscopes.

The downloadable Stethophone application uses “advanced acoustic processing to provide smartphones with highly sensitive cardiac and pulmonary listening capability,” the company says. There is nothing to plug in, charge or connect; the phone will capture heart and lung sounds when held to a person’s chest.

The device “captures gallops, murmurs and arrythmias indicative of numerous progressive cardiac diseases,” said Yaroslav Shpak, cofounder of Sparrow BioAcoustics.

In trials conducted at Eastern Health Medical Centre of Newfoundland, 70 percent of medical professionals rated Stethophone superior in diagnostic sound performance over other leading devices.

And surgeons can see a real-time patient avatar displaying virtual reality 3D medical images created from MRI or CT scans using the recently cleared product from Avatar Medical.

The company, a spin-off of Institut Pasteur and Institut Curie, said the virtual reality representations of patients are “valuable tools for pre-operative planning and can also be displayed during surgical procedures.”

The avatars can be created for use in vascular, breast, head and neck, and orthopedic surgery as well as surgical and interventional oncology and neonatal imaging.

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