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The stethoscope is a longstanding symbol of the medical profession, having been used by doctors for more than two centuries to obtain basic vital signs through listening to the heart and respiratory noises. Although it is a fundamental part of almost every medical exam and surgical procedure, stethoscopes have several major disadvantages. Among these is the inability to give continuous readings and a bulky size that prevents their use in some situations. Yong Xu, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, received a National Science Foundation CAREER award, a prestigious award given to promising faculty early in their career, to develop a stethoscope alternative that has the potential to change the paradigm for respiratory sound monitoring. Using a micro-scale cantilever design and intelligent textile technology, Xu is developing a micro-sensor that is sensitive and compact; capable of picking up the weak vibrations given off by breathing, yet small enough to be worn comfortably throughout the day for continuous monitoring.