Smartphone attachment offers cheap ear infection diagnosis

smartphone attachment offers cheap ear infection diagnosis otoscope

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely had to deal with your offspring developing an ear infection at one point or another. It starts with the kid complaining of ear pain, maybe dizziness, maybe gross discharge, and usually ends with a trained medical professional jamming a pointy light into your child’s ear, examining the aural canal for a few moments, then dictating which brand of drops you’ll spend the next week pouring into your son or daughter’s squirming, complaining head. Every parent goes through it at some point, and the experience is no fun for anyone involved.

Fortunately, a mobile microscope company known as CellScope has created a smartphone attachment that takes the hassle out of the entire process by allowing parents to perform the most complicated part of the diagnosis procedure at home. The peripheral essentially adds an otoscope to your smartphone’s camera, turning your device into a makeshift medical instrument that can be used to capture images from within your child’s ear canal. From there it’s a simple matter of sending the imagery off to your doctor who can quickly diagnose the problem based on the pictures you’ve captured.

Doctors quoted by CellScope claim to appreciate that the device allows for the creation of a high-definition image-based record of a child’s ailments that can easily be added to his or her ongoing medical record, while insurance companies appreciate the otoscope as it saves them from having to shell out cash for parents needlessly rushing their kids to the ER at the first sign of an ear ache.

Though CellScope originally grew out of the microscopy lab at the University of California Berkeley with the goal of creating cheap 60x microscopes that could be used in impoverished parts of the world by both volunteer aid workers and the indigenous population, this latest gadget is being designed with the consumer space in mind. As VentureBeat points out, CellScope believes that its smartphone otoscope could “save around 30 million pediatric doctor appointments each year that result from ear infections and ear aches” — a figure that, combined with the ubiquity of modern smartphones, could make this otoscope a must-have household item for anyone with kids.

CellScope has announced that it managed to raise $1 million in seed funding from Khosla Ventures to build the otoscope, and the firm is currently testing prototypes of the device in California. So far there is no word on when the otoscope will be available to the public, but barring major catastrophe it shouldn’t be too far off.

Emerging Tech

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to dig a tunnel to Dodger Stadium

Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to build a high-speed transportation tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium to a nearby Metro station. The system would run 150-mph passenger pods between the stadium and a terminus to the west.
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.
Home Theater

The best MP3 player you can buy (and four alternatives)

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Home Theater

Everything you need to know about Google’s Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Emerging Tech

Watch as a ‘lifeguard drone’ rescues a swimmer struggling at sea

These days, drones are finding a range of roles in a myriad of fields. Lifeguards, for example, are making use of the drone's ability to quickly deploy flotation devices while also offering an eye in the sky to survey the scene.
Emerging Tech

Experiment suggests that the best robot bosses could be jerks

Researchers have been investigating how future robot bosses can coax the most productivity out of us flesh-and-blood employees. The sad answer? Quite possibly by behaving like jerks.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? Here are the best drones on the market right now

To help you navigate the increasingly large and ever-changing landscape of consumer UAVs, here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

VR experience shows caregivers what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease

Los Angeles-based VR startup Embodied Labs has developed a virtual experience that puts users in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia in the U.S.
Emerging Tech

Welcome to the uncanny valley: This robot head shows lifelike expressions

SEER is a robot head that is capable of recognizing the facial expressions of the people that it interacts with, and then mirroring their same expression back at them. Check it out.
Computing

Crypto-intrigued? Here's how to buy Bitcoin for the first time

Is it time to purchase your first Bitcoin investment? If you're ready to get involved in the cryptocurrency, we'll walk you through how to pick an exchange, how to choose the right wallet, and how to buy Bitcoin the safe way!
Computing

Art-inspired face blurring can obscure identity without losing humanity

Researchers have developed an AI-generated anonymity system that “paints” over video frames, using inspiration from masters like Picasso and Van Gogh to reimagine a person’s appearance. The goal is to minimize outer resemblance but…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!