Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Medical Devices
Medical Devices
Otoscope Providing Improved Ear Canal Access
WARF: P140406US01

Inventors: James Berbee, Azita Hamedani, Gregory Rebella

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a redesigned otoscope that provides better imaging and less discomfort to patients.
An otoscope is a classic, handheld medical device that allows a doctor to look into the ear canal and tympanic membrane (eardrum). This is important for diagnosing ear infections, membrane ruptures and foreign objects.

Modern otoscopes are equipped with a camera in the funnel-shaped tip that gets inserted into the ear. However, the design is relatively bulky and unable to visualize past earwax or other obstructions. This means the view is often poor and proper diagnosis is compromised. Antibiotics may be overprescribed as a result.
The Invention
UW–Madison researchers have developed a new otoscope featuring a small camera that is mounted on a narrow, flexible tip and able to ‘look around’ obstructions such as earwax. The tip is narrow enough to permit other medical instruments to be inserted into the ear while the otoscope is being used (e.g., a curette for removing earwax or foreign objects).
  • Medical otoscope for regular clinical use
Key Benefits
  • Improves access to ear canal
  • Provides excellent imaging of tympanic membrane
  • Bendable tip is more comfortable to patients.
  • Easily repurposed for the nose or other body cavities
  • Looks and feels much like the conventional otoscope familiar to healthcare professionals
Stage of Development
A prototype has been developed and tested.
Additional Information
For More Information About the Inventors
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9846