More than just a simple mobile calling device, smartphones can be used for lots of things. They’re a camera, a web browser, a media player, and more, but a few students have come up with a way to make them useful in medicine, and they’ve received a cash grant to prove it.

Developed by a team of students from the University of Melbourne, the StethoCloud is a unique concept that takes a stethoscope and plugs it into a Windows-based phone, allowing medical personnel to pick up on respiratory diseases more easily than today.

The StethoCloud concept is supposed to be much cheaper than commercial stethoscopes, and even offers more than just the ability to listen close to a part of the body, with the information transmitted to a cloud service for analysis, where more information can be relayed to the handset being used.

Clinical trials of the StethoCloud are expected to begin at The Royal Children’s Hospital, but the concept has also received second place this week at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Grants Program, netting it $75,000 to hopefully push the StethoCloud past research and development and into a fully functional commercial product.

Unfortunately, the Australian team wasn’t the overall winner, losing out to German students with a $100,000 grant for a navigation system (above) that can plan city routes to reduce CO2 emissions of cars.

As for when either of these products will be released, that’s anyone’s guess. Still, with recognition from Microsoft and a grant to assist in development, it’s probably only a matter of time before this go beyond concept and into people’s hands.

Australian Team Stethoscope, second place winners at the second Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants Program. Congratulations!