Laser Stethoscope for Use in Noisy Spacecraft Environments

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT 06108
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Auscultation, or listening to internal sounds made by the body of a patient, is an important tool in medical diagnostics. Heart, lung, intestine, and circulatory function can be assessed through careful listening. There are numerous situations, however, where the faint sounds collected using an ordinary stethoscope are overwhelmed by ambient noise. Such is the case in spacecraft, where room is scarce and noise generating equipment is always nearby. Here, a stethoscope employing laser Doppler vibrometry is proposed. Through an innovative design employing adaptive filtering, the new-technology stethoscope will provide immunity to external noise while providing conventional auscultation sounds for easy interpretation by medical professionals. Phase I and Phase II development will result in a system that is lightweight, rugged, efficient, and compact, making it suitable for use in space. The system will provide enhanced medical care for astronauts in space, allowing auscultation sounds to be transmitted back to mission control medical personnel despite the high levels of ambient noise present in the spacecraft.