In 2008, we first heard about the mobile microscope from CellScope (San Francisco), which came out of research at the University of California, Berkeley. One of the most impressive elements of the technology is that it could be used for a number of medical applications in everything from dermatology to oncology, potentially offering a diagnostic tool to physicians in remote areas across the planet. In addition, its microscope technology has the potential to turn the iPhone into an otoscope, which could enable the remote diagnosis of ear infections. In the United States, ear infections account for roughly 30 million doctor’s visits annually. At present, CellScope is running pilot trials in preparation for a market launch of its iPhone-based otoscopes and dermascopes.
Georgia Tech recently issued a press release describing its involvement in the development of the Remotoscope—a clip-on attachment and app combination that transforms the iPhone into an otoscope. The device uses the iPhone’s camera and flash to provide light for otoscopic images.
From the press release:
Remotoscope has had a long journey with many players to get to where it is today. Dr. [Wilbur] Lam and a colleague, Erik Douglas, started the project while doctoral students at UC, Berkeley. The two researchers went on to create the startup CellScope Inc., which aims to commercialize Remotoscope once clinical studies are complete and the device has FDA approval.
In 2011, when Dr. Lam joined the faculty at Georgia Tech and Emory, he brought the project with him to Atlanta. Today resources from both institutions, as well as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute, are being used to take the medical device to the next level.
The Remotoscope is now being studied in a clinical trial for to compare its diagnostic quality with a traditional otoscope. The FDA, through the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium, is partly funding the trial. The researchers expect to publish the trial data by the end of year and hope that FDA approval will follow that milestone.
Product page: Remotoscope