Enabling a stethoscope variant that can both hear and see the heart, making cardiac diagnosis more affordable and accessible


About 80 percent of the global deaths due to Cardio Vascular Disease reason occur in low- and middle-income countries. By 2001, CVD had become the leading cause of death in the developing world and was responsible 30 percent of deaths worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates 60 percent of the world's cardiac patients live in India.



The critical need for a cardiac screening tool that was inexpensive, portable and reliable was finally in the process of being realized at the HD Medical Group, Australia. For the first time in the world,  technology was developed that could visualize heart sounds along with capturing its audio output. The device was envisioned to be an important first step in diagnosing cardiac problems, especially to service remote, medically under serviced locations. Besides being affordable, a and major advancements in being able to eliminate human errors would add to its reliability. How could design help realize this technology into a real, workable device?



ViScope was potentially an efficient and reliable digital replacement for the traditional stethoscope. And there lay the challenge. How do we convince doctors to give up a tool that had become a second nature to them? How could an entrenched symbol of medical practice for many generations change now? What would get Doctors to take that big leap across to the ViScope? From our user observations we concluded that the design of the ViScope would have to emulate how the stethoscope is used as closely as possible.


HD Medical group approached Icarus with a ‘proof of concept of technology’ packaged in a ‘shoebox’. Many explorations later, we arrived on a design prototype for the ViScope that made the handheld concept device easy-to-use and reliable.  After extensive user research, iterative mock-ups and user testing, the classic three-finger grip of the stethoscope was abstracted to a wider three-finger grip for visibility of the display during auscultation.

Optimal placement of the controls enabled the forefinger to capture images while the thumb was used for gain control. The form also allows the controls to be easily accessible without change in palm position and without obscuring the display when in use.

The critical 3D angle of the chest piece picks up even feeble heart sounds by adapting itself to a wide spectrum of body contours.

The size, grip, weight and balance of the Viscopehave been carefully designed to easily and comfortably fit a wide range of anthropometric palm dimensions. The heaviest part of the device, the batteries, has been placed at the rear so that the centre of gravity is within the palm. Output from ViScope can be transferred to a laptop for analyzing and generating patient reports.



  • Design Research
  • Industrial Design
  • Ergonomic Prototyping
  • Engineering
  • Tight integration of electronics
  • Production Samples

The Viscope represents a major step in hand held quick diagnostics for heart problems. It was awarded the Business World Industrial Design award.



HD Medical Group