Smartphone add-on diagnoses ear infections from home

Scientists at UC Berkeley have created a smartphone otoscope that can diagnose ear infections without a trip to the doctor's office.

A new smartphone app from UC Berkeley could soon save parents from all those summertime trips to the pediatrician’s office.

CellScope, a mobile microscope company started at the university’s microscopy lab, is currently developing an easy-to-use smartphone add-on that can diagnose ear infections with the simple flash of the phone’s camera.

The device is essentially an attachable otoscope—the tool that doctors and nurses use to peer inside the ears and throat.

The otoscope connects to the end of an iPhone where it can then be used to give an observer a magnified view inside the ear. Once a photo is taken with the phone’s camera, users can send the image to a doctor who will examine it and call in any necessary prescriptions. While the diagnosis is ultimately still up to the physician, the add-on makes a trip to the office unnecessary, saving time for both doctor and patient.

“CellScope's clip-on otoscope helps pediatricians increase the standard of care by creating a visual history of the middle ear and allows parents to save time by allowing ear infections to be diagnosed and treated remotely,” the company explains on its website. “Ear infection is the number-one reason why children visit pediatricians and hits 75 percent of kids by age 6, resulting in over 30 million doctor visits per year in the US alone.”

While the device is currently being developed, it has already received plenty of support. Last week, the company announced that it had raised $1 million in seed funding from Khosla Ventures.

[via VentureBeat]

Photo: CellScope

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