The BBC is reporting on new technology from University of Lancaster and University of Central Lancashire that essentially listens to knee movements to determine the progress of osteoarthritis. Specialty microphones are taped to the knees and the patient then repeatedly stands up and sits down in a chair, while computer algorithms analyze the clanging within the joints and compare that with previous sessions.
The inspiration for the device comes from industry where acoustic tools are already in use to spot wear and tear. For example, in ports, such devices are used to spot damage to the bearings in jetty loading arms, which pump oil and other liquids from ships.
What works for worn-out bearings might not necessarily work for an arthritic knee and much work and clinical testing remains to be done.
But Prof Goodacre is hopeful that the device can be developed into a cheap and practical tool for GP surgeries and clinics which would be used to diagnose and monitor osteoarthritis.
More from BBC: Prototype device to spot knee osteoarthritis unveiled…