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#20 – Revolutionary Limb Prostheses

Crack! Is This the Sound of a Healthy Knee?

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A special stethoscope to detect knee injuries (Courtesy of Georgia Tech)

Beware of crackling knees! Research engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on a special stethoscope to detect knee injuries. The device consists of microphones and a film-based vibration sensor that is stuck to the leg to listen to crunchy sounds coming from the joints. Acoustic electronics then turn them into moving graphs that may someday be medically useful.

The team has already identified some characteristics of healthy knees compared to injured ones. For example, there is more consistency in sounds coming from healthy knees.

Published in the IEEE journal, the research is being sponsored by DARPA, the U.S. military’s research funding agency. Musculoskeletal knee and ankle injuries are among the top reasons for discharge of active duty service members, and this research could reduce the number repeat battlefield knee injuries and help return soldiers to duty safely.

Listen to these impressive crackling sounds in the video, below:


About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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