Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Wayne Pilkington

Abstract

For this project, the design, implementation, characterization, calibration and possible applications of a multiple transducer stethoscope apparatus were investigated. The multi-transducer sensor array design consists of five standard stethoscope diaphragms mounted to a rigid frame for a-priori knowledge of their relative spatial locations in the x-y plane, with compliant z-direction positioning to ensure good contact and pressure against the subject’s skin for reliable acoustic coupling. When this apparatus is properly placed on the body, it can digitally capture the same important body sounds investigated with standard acoustic stethoscopes; especially heart sounds. Acoustic signal inputs from each diaphragm are converted to electrical signals through microphone pickups installed in the stethoscope connective tubing; and are subsequently sampled and digitized for analysis. With this system, we are able to simultaneously interrogate internal body sounds at a sampling rate of 2 KHz, as most heart sounds of interest occur below 200 Hz.

This system was characterized and calibrated by chirp and impulse signal tests. After calibrating the system, a variety of methods for combining the individual sensor channel data to improve the detectability of different signals of interest were explored using variable-delay beam forming. S1 and S2 heart sound recognition with optimized beam forming delays and inter-symbol noise elimination were investigated for improved discernment of the S1 or S2 heart sounds by a user. Also, stereophonic presentation of heart sounds was also produced to allow future investigation of its potential clinical diagnostic efficacy.