Otoscope 2.0

A low-power, ergonomic otoscope, particularly aimed at diagnosing ear infections in children.

The Problem
Traditional otoscopes are awkward to hold while squeezing the insufflation bulb (the rubber bulb that puffs air into the ear, primarily used to diagnose ear infections in children). Otoscope lights also generate a great deal of heat, which constrains the design to have a metal handle, in order to dissipate the heat. In addition, the bulbs use enough power that batteries must be large, or the units must be wall-mounted for power; the bulbs also need to be replaced occasionally.

The Solution
As a student, I and two others invented a better otoscope. It uses an LED light instead of an incandescent, which not only uses much less power and never needs replacing, but eliminates the heat problem and allows for more ergonomic design. The elimination of heat problems lets the entire case be injection-molded out of two pieces of plastic, rather than being an assembly of many plastic and metal parts. The design has the following advantages:

• tapered ellipse shape allows physician better grip stability and patient control
• LED lighting
– long life
– light weight
– compact size
– no heat problems
• integrated insufflation bulb
• beam-splitter routing for better light distribution
• inexpensive to manufacture
• more child-friendly appearance

Process photos:

Early prototypes and testing

Functional prototypes with LEDs, translucent mirror, and working insufflation

CAD model

Drawings for provisional patent application