Medicine: Measuring the Heart's Kick

If a man holds his breath and stands perfectly still on a bathroom scale, the needle wobbles slightly but visibly in time with his heartbeat. In theory, it should be easy to use this principle to get medically valuable information about the strength of the heart's thrust and about its subtle subbeats, thus disclosing how healthy the heart is. Inventive minds have been trying for more than half a century to devise an instrument that would yield reliable data. In New York City last week, Astro-Space Laboratories, Inc. demonstrated the latest ballistocardiograph,* which...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!