A High Performance Approach to Improving Auscultation Capability in Noisy Environments

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CD44P
Agency Tracking Number: 104521
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: X12.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Signal Processing, Inc.
13619 Valley Oak Circle, ROCKVILLE, MD, -
DUNS: 620282256
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Chiman Kwan
 Principal Investigator
 (301) 315-2322
Business Contact
 Chiman Kwan
Title: Business Official
Phone: (301) 315-2322
Email: chiman.kwan@signalpro.net
Research Institution
Some commercial auscultation devices pick up all sounds without filtering out the background noise. Although the electronic stethoscopes made by 3M and Thinklab have some simple built-in filters, those filters cannot differentiate important internal body sounds from interfering background noise. Other devices used Doppler effects, which cannot be easily interpreted by physicians. We propose a high performance approach to enhancing auscultation capability. The idea is to utilize a second microphone to pick up the background noise and then use the microphone signals to improve the quality of stethoscope signals. There are several key advantages of our approach. First, the second mic is attached to a recorder, which is independent of the stethoscope. That is, the current stethoscope can still be used without any modifications. Second, the background noise level in the stethoscope will be reduced significantly, as we will apply advanced and fast algorithms to eliminate the background noise. Two algorithms will be evaluated. One is based on adaptive filtering, which is a time-domain approach. The other one is based on spectral subtraction with multi-band scaling. These algorithms have been applied by our team to speech enhancement applications in very noisy environments such as battlefield and also astronaut's helmet.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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