Support Marketplace

An iPhone app that's as nifty as a stethoscope...

There are iPhone apps for seemingly everything these days - travel apps, camera apps, back-to-school apps, money-saving apps, tech apps, etc. And then there's BellyButton, where you match belly buttons with particular voices and tickle various navels to hear a jiggle.

With hundreds of thousands of iPhone apps up for use, it can be easy to lose sight of the ones that matter. Well, here's one that may be of use: the iStethoscope.

iTunes describes the app as something that can "turn your iPhone into a stethoscope, allowing you to listen to your heartbeat and see your heart waveform, or listen to other quiet sounds around you."

The iStethoscope was created by the University College London and developed in collaboration with cardiologist researchers. Reports say an average of 500 people worldwide are signing up daily for the free app, which monitors one's heartbeat through phone sensors.

[RELATED: Apple files patent to ID jailbreakers]

Should you want the iStethoscope, here's some advice from the app's creators to garner the best results:

  • Use good quality headphones (not the white earphones you may be using for your iPod, for instance)
  • Press the microphone at the bottom of your iPhone to your chest (like the apex of your heart, below your left nipple)
  • Place the microphone directly against the skin, not through a shirt
  • Take the iPhone out of any protective case

Creators do warn it takes time to learn how to listen to your heart. Nevertheless, the app is a prime example of technology marrying with medicine. With smartphones becoming more and more sophisticated, it could be a glimpse into our future as mobile technology is adapted into medicine. Some even speculate the app, or something like it, could eventually replace the good old stethoscope.

Now the question is: Would you want to be examined with an iPhone?

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...