Here's what I love about the elegantly functional stethoscope that is the recipient of our 2009 Innovation of the Year award: It looks exactly like a stethoscope. Jointed arms connect earpieces to a black rubber tube that leads to a circular amplifier—you've seen one every time you've visited your doctor since you were born. It takes an observant eye to notice that on this one, there's a tiny screen on the back of that amplifier, and telltale + and – signs and a small power button that signify electronics in action. The creators of this high-tech medical tool have taken an instrument that's been central to medical diagnostics for 190 years and supercharged it, adding sophisticated hardware and software that record, transmit, and analyze vital data, dramatically improving doctors' ability to detect truly dangerous heart murmurs while eliminating the need for thousands of pricey echocardiograms a year. But from a design standpoint, I'm pleased to see that the stethoscope's reinventors have decided that it ain't broke, so don't fix it. Thus they've come up with a device that still carries all the Norman Rockwell–style reassurance of its predecessors.