Jan 17, 2017 | By Tess

A startup from Reno, Nevada has developed a 3D printed device that can turn your smartphone and Apple EarPods into a functioning stethoscope for checking heart rates. Called “Hummingdoc Flip,” the new device could be a breakthrough for personal, at-home diagnostics, as well as telemedicine.

3D printing has provided many medical startups with the means to make affordable, accessible, and innovative medical tools and devices. Beyond making implants and surgical guides, additive manufacturing has been used to make useful gadgets like this 20-cent malaria diagnosis device, inexpensive alternatives to the EpiPen, and even 3D printed eye examination kits. Now, thanks to the ingenuity of Hummingdoc founder Dr. Paul Park, people can now monitor their own heart rates using a simple 3D printed device and their smartphones.

The device, which consists of a compact, hockey-puck-sized case, is amazingly easy to use. Users simply have to place their Apple EarPods (the device is optimized for these specific ones) into the Hummingdoc Flip, put the lid back on, and plug the earpods into their smartphone. The case itself (a patent pending design) has been specially designed to “funnel, filter, and amplify” the heartbeat for optimal and accurate readings.

Then, using a Stethoscope app, the heart rate can be recorded and visualized. Hummingdoc is reportedly working on its own app, but until then they recommend using an existing third-party one. Of course, the idea is not to have people diagnose themselves, but rather to have them send their recorded heartbeats to their physicians for a real-time evaluation.

Considering that heart rate checks are one of the primary reasons people visit clinics, being able to telecommunicate heart rates could help to cut down on clinic wait times and push forward the quickly growing field of telemedicine (which encompasses remote diagnosis and treatments by means of telecommunication technology). As Dr. Park commented, “This is going to be the wave of the future. There is so much we can do remotely but there are still many limitations.”

Currently, the startup is producing the Hummingdoc Flip using 3D printers from the University of Reno, where Dr. Park received his doctorate of philosophy in cellular and molecular biology and his doctorate in medicine. The device is still undergoing some modifications and improvements, though is available for purchase through Hummingdoc’s website for $75 a piece. A small bonus: the 3D printed case also comes in three different color options.

According to Dr. Park, the heart rate reader is only the first of many accessible personal medical devices he hopes to produce, though we will have to sit tight to see what else the Reno-based startup has in store.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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