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So long, stethoscope: the future of medicine is wireless

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The future of medicine is wireless, says cardiologist and geneticist Eric Topol. In a new TEDMED video, he explains how new technology will replace the centuries-old stethoscope.

The future of medicine is wireless.

That's what cardiologist and geneticist Eric Topol says in a new video, where he explains how we’ll soon use our smartphones to monitor our vital signs and chronic conditions.

Speaking at TEDMED 2009 in San Diego, Calif., Topol highlights several smart, connected wireless devices that can be used in medicine today. The goal? Keep more of us out of hospital beds and on our feet.

"The future are digital medical wireless devices," he says. "In the future, you're going to be checking all your vital signs: your heart rhythm, your blood pressure, your oxygen, et cetera. It's already available today."

The director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, Topol also serves on the board of the West Wireless Health Institute, which looks at how wireless tech can help healthcare.

One example? Topol says the stethoscope -- invented in 1816, yet still carried around by doctors everywhere -- is on its way out, thanks to devices such as GE's handheld ultrasound.

Here's a look at what other new technologies the future holds:

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Andrew Nusca

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Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure