Diagnosing cartilage deterioration in knee joints often requires imaging, some types of which rely on radiation. Imaging exams include MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, standard radiography, and other methods, usually with rather large and expensive equipment. But there’s a wearable sensor that can help diagnose knee problems in five minutes without traditional imaging: Kneevoice. Placed over the knee, the non-invasive diagnostic device captures the sound vibrations that emanate from the patellofemoral joint (where the back of the kneecap and thighbone meet at the knee’s front). With these sounds, Kneevoice can gauge the degradation of cartilage.

Intended for use in a physician’s office, the Kneevoice sensor connects to a terminal that physicians can use to review and analyze data that’s stored on the cloud. The platform creates a cartilage damage score, generates automatic reports, and offers guidance in diagnosis and treatment plans. The company’s co-founder, Dr. Carlos Leal, says, “For a physician, it fills the void of a dynamic test that provides previously unknown information and adds a lot…. Different from CT scans or MRIs, it can be used repeatedly in the office.”

The investment firm Techstars, which bills itself as “the largest startup network in the world,” chose Kneevoice for its 2023 accelerator program. The three-month program helps early-stage entrepreneurs find funding, connects them with entrepreneurs in related fields, and introduces them to mentors who are experts in areas that include product development, marketing, business development, and more. The program also features workshops and masterclasses with industry leaders on topics such as hiring and technology.

Osteoarthritis (OA), otherwise known as degenerative joint disease, affects over 32.5 million U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diagnosing OA, which is most common in the knees, hips, and hands, can be costly. According to GoodRX, a CT scan can cost up to $6,750, and the price of an MRI can go as high as $12,000. But by expanding access and lowering costs, innovative non-invasive sensors such as Kneevoice can change healthcare.