Thinklabs was founded in 1991 by Clive Smith, a graduate in Electrical Engineering at Caltech. The company was formed to do research and development in electronics and signal processing for medical and communications applications.
In the mid 90's, Smith read a paper in Circulation that indicated that stethoscope acoustics had essentially not improved since Laennec built the first stethoscope in 1816. Physicians confirmed that auscultation was a difficult skill to develop and that even top-of-the-line conventional stethoscopes did a poor job of amplifying heart sounds. It seemed illogical that the advanced technology that Thinklabs had applied to other problems had never been used to improve the stethoscope.