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Thinklabs Manufacturer

  • Thinklabs One Digital Stethoscope

    The icon of medicine has changed. The One has a standard 3.5mm jack so you can connect high quality headphones instead of old tubing style binaurals. You get better sound, more comfort, a more compact stethoscope and the choice to use the headphones of...

Thinklabs was founded in 1991 by Clive Smith, a graduate in Electrical Engineering at Caltech. The company was formed to do research and development in electronics and signal processing for medical and communications applications. In the mid 90's, Smith read a paper in Circulation that indicated that stethoscope acoustics had essentially not improved since Laennec built the first stethoscope in 1816. Physicians confirmed that auscultation was a difficult skill to develop and that even top-of-the-line conventional stethoscopes did a poor job of amplifying heart sounds. It seemed illogical that the advanced technology that Thinklabs had applied to other problems had never been used to improve the stethoscope. A literature review revealed that the concept of an electronic stethoscope was not new. Einthoven, who invented the ECG, had tried placing a microphone (then a new invention) in a stethoscope in the late 1800's. For a century, the road to perfect auscultation had then been littered with the carcasses of failed electronic stethoscope endeavors. Thus began Smith's quest to develop a 21st-century stethoscope. Many technologies were tested and rejected. The breakthrough came during one of many all-night research sessions, with a reframing of the question: How can one create an electrical phenomemon that acts just like the air in a conventional stethoscope? All the benefits of advanced electronic techonology would then accrue, the limitations of sound in air tubes could be eliminated, and above all, the authentic sound of a stethoscope would be preserved so physicians would not require any ear retraining. Smith set up an electric field behind the diaphragm, replacing air pressure with electric field intensity. Thus was the Electromagnetic Diaphragm created. Thinklabs has multiple patents issued, and numerous patents pending related to stethoscope technology. Product development followed research, and 4 generations of electronic stethoscopes were tested before determined that the product was perfect enough.