Innovation and advanced manufacturing in healthcare, energy, telecommunication and nanomaterials

Crowley and Tripp Microphone Technology used for Cancer Study - 10/6/05

Robert J Crowley, an inventor in acoustics and medical diagnostics holds a miniature ultrasound probe model developed at Soundwave Research Laboratories. Crowley also holds a lifelong passion for music and recording.

Soundwave Research Laboratories founders Bob Crowley and Hugh Tripp were already familiar with how sound affects human cells from their years of ultrasound work at medical giant Boston Scientific. Now the duo that makes Crowley and Tripp ribbon microphones is at it again, this time employing the same techniques used to build microphones to listen for minute sounds produced by sick cells. "We found that our low noise mic technology may be ideal for medical applications where signal purity is essential" said Bob Crowley, who has developed a number of successful acoustic medical devices that are now being used in hospitals worldwide.

Another system built by the Crowley and Tripp/Soundwave Research team, including company scientist Warren Ziegler, PhD, is already in use at the Cross Cancer Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada, and is producing results. Researchers there are looking for ways to detect cancer before it spreads, and hope to hear the sounds of multiplying malignant cells with the goal of stopping their growth.

Crowley and Tripp's latest system, which uses a proprietary composite acoustic transducer technology invented in their laboratory, is also good for seeing blockages within the heart arteries as well as cancer, and is now being developed as part of the company's new ultrasound system. "We are tuning into small but very important differences in audio character from cell to cell, exactly what is needed for the next lifesaving medical devices that use sound to succeed", explained Crowley. "Computers are still not anywhere near as good as the human ear is at detecting fine patterns like those produced by cells, which can make their own sounds like musical tones or reflect sound in a certain way. We try to bridge the gap between the body and the machine, and that means even higher fidelity is needed. It's lucky that some of the tools used to detect diseases can also be used to make better microphones."