Noise-canceling stethoscope built for battlefield

U.S. Army acoustical engineers have developed a new stethoscope that can outperform its electronic predecessors by detecting a human heartbeat in intensely noisy environments, such as inside a military helicopter, according to LiveScience. The development could ultimately help doctors save lives on the battlefield, according to Adrianus Houtsma, an acoustical engineer at the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory in Fort Rucker, Ala., who lead the research.

Unlike others before it, the new stethoscope has a special head that can generate ultrasound waves, or sound frequencies that can cancel out external noises as high as 120 decibels. Background noise on ambulances, helicopters or within crowds typically render electronic and traditional stethoscopes useless. But for the new device to work, researchers must ensure it does not generate emissions through the ultrasound waves that affect aircraft or other equipment, according to the report.

Houtsma plans to unveil his research this week in Honolulu at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of Japan.

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