Turkish university develops tool to diagnose COVID-19
Turkey’s Boğaziçi University developed a stethoscope that can analyze sound via artificial intelligence and diagnose lung diseases, including the novel coronavirus.
Yasemin Palandüz Kahya, a professor at the university’s Electrical and Electronic Engineering Faculty, and her team developed the tool at the Electrosalus company within the university’s technopark.
“In the 1980s, my daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia when she was young. An X-ray was required to confirm the diagnosis made with a stethoscope. Then I thought to myself: ‘How could the sounds be used in a more precise method for diagnosis?’” Kahya said.
Kahya then launched research on finding a more reliable instrument for listening, recording, and analyzing breathing sounds.
“First of all, I designed an electronic device that recorded sound in a wider frequency range compared to a conventional stethoscope.”
Collecting data from different types of patients in hospitals, various algorithms were developed to detect and classify additional sounds indicating the symptoms of various diseases.
Kahya said they wanted to mobilize the system so that everyone can use it in smartphones via wireless communication, adding: “So, we have created and developed the following three main elements: A small device that can listen and record breathing sounds, an application for mobile devices, intelligent algorithms that constantly learn and support the diagnosis of the doctor with the host computer.”
Developing different models, Kahya and her team also designed a wearable model with 14 listening points.
Kahya said they secured the patent for smart stethoscope in the US and in 24 European countries, including Turkey.
A stethoscope may be used to diagnose COVID-19
“I believe that this technology will have great benefits in establishing a diagnosis of COVID-19 and similar outbreaks,” Kahya added.
She said the doctors can follow their patients’ situations remotely but listening to the breathing sounds, as well as facilitating collective health studies.
Kahya and her team also developed a website recording the breathing and coughing sounds.
“With the sounds obtained here, it is aimed to develop smart algorithms specific to COVID-19 patients and to carry out an additional diagnostic test.
“After the necessary accreditation and certification studies, we want to manufacture the smart stethoscope as a completely Turkish technology product in both national and international markets. We aim to make the smart stethoscope a widely useful medical diagnostic device, just like a digital thermometer,” she added.