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Diagnose ear infections at home with this low-cost smartphone accessory

More and more, smartphones aren’t just being used for communication or entertainment. Developers are beginning to explore other uses for them, and now more than ever, smartphones are bridging the gap between you and your doctor.

The latest example of this growing trend comes from a fledgling startup by the name of CellScope. The company has developed an innovative new smartphone attachment that essentially transforms your device into a fully-functioning, network-connected otoscope — the medical device that doctors use to look inside of people’s ears.

The device, called Oto, attaches to your smartphone’s camera, allowing you to snap pictures and record video of the inner ear. These pictures and videos can then be sent through an accompanying app to an on-call doctor for immediate consultation.

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This kind of nifty, new-age, network-enabled doctor visit doesn’t come cheap though. The Oto attachment itself costs $80, and while the first consultation is free, each subsequent e-checkup will put you back $50. Still, it might be worth it if you’d rather not make the trip to the doctors’s office.

You can’t quite get your hands on Oto just yet, but the device is currently up for pre-order online. Details on when it’s expected to ship have yet to surface, though, so in the meantime, we highly suggest you check out some of the other awesome remote diagnosis tools that are already out in the wild. Earlier this month we came across Peek, which uses your phone’s camera to spot cataracts; as well as SkinVision — an app that uses machine vision to spot moles and blemishes that could potentially be cancerous.

Apparently the old adage is true: An app(le) a day really does keep the doctor away.