WARF: P150259US01

Digital Otoscope for Optimal Access, Visualization


James Berbee, Gregory Rebella, Azita Hamedani

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a redesigned otoscope that provides multidirectional illumination, image transfer capabilities and maximum comfort to patients.
OVERVIEWAn otoscope is a classic handheld medical device that allows doctors to look into the ear canal and tympanic membrane (eardrum). It is used to diagnose 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.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have designed an otoscope featuring a small camera that is mounted on a narrow tip and able to ‘look around’ obstructions such as earwax. The narrow tip also permits 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). A remarkable view of the tympanic membrane is achieved, facilitating proper diagnosis.

Notable features include a disposable, light-conducting speculum sleeve with distal tip smaller than 2 mm. In addition, images may be captured directly from the device and stored in the patient record in compliance with Federal law.
  • Medical otoscope with enhanced visualization features
  • Better access, illumination and visualization
  • Provides excellent imaging of tympanic membrane
  • Flexible tip is more comfortable to patients.
  • Looks and feels much like the conventional otoscope familiar to healthcare professionals
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTA prototype has been developed and tested.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.