A new diagnostic instrument that can potentially affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people has resulted from a collaboration among physicians, physicists,engineers and mathematicians. This article is the case history of the interdisciplinary study which culminated in the development of the urinary drop spectrometer, a painless instrument, now in clinical use, for the early detection of lower‐urinary‐tract abnormalities. As the name implies, this instrument analyzes the spectrum of drops into which the urinary stream breaks up. As the drop spectra carry a “memory” of the passage the fluid has traversed, their statistics may be used to map the delicate tubes of the urinary system. Figure 1 shows how the output of the spectrometer clearly distinguished output from patients suffering from two different disease conditions from each other and from that of a normal individual. We will see how these clearly distinguishable differences arise, and how they form the basis for medical diagnosis.
Information from the external urine stream permits early, painless diagnosis of obstructions with an optical instrument developed by an interdisciplinary group.