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trying to build a digital otoscope (to look in pts ears)

by jumbehr / August 5, 2005 11:24 AM PDT

Hello CNET people,
My name is Josh and I've been thinking about how to build a wirelss, digital otoscope. It is what docs use to look in your ears. I'd love the ability to wirelessly connect to a screen (live), but if i have settle for uploading the pics later I will.

Any ideas? My budget is super tight, but i thought someone out there will have tinkered w/ a digital camera and might have some ideas.

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Digital otoscope
by mccrosky / August 30, 2005 3:58 AM PDT

Hello Josh,

I have been toying with the same idea for a few months, mostly trying to build a cheap otoscope with simple parts that would be cost effective in the developing world.

More recently I have started thinking about how to mount it to or make it part of a low cost digital camera with the goal to make it easier for health care providers in rural area to send images to regional health care centers for consultation.

I am a Family Nurse Practitioner working solo in a rural health clinic in the US. I often work alone and transmitting digital images would be a useful tool. I hope to at least start sending dermatological images, easier as it only requires a digital camera.

If a digital otoscope gets made, I could beta test it in my setting.

Illumination is an issue that I think can be dealt with a white LED, about $2.

I have a Canon A70 PowerShot and was just about to buy a macro lens to see how that would help with magnification.

I would be less interested in live wireless capability because I am more interested in low cost and rural health where just internet or cell access will be available for uploading.

My interest is in appropriate health technologies (AHT)and medical information technnology, I have a site, that indexes several AHT's.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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If it helps, the Nikon 4500 has a truly impressive macro
by Kiddpeat / August 30, 2005 7:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Digital otoscope

capability. I'm pretty sure (it's been awhile) that it can focus from an inch or less. I used to hold it right on top of flowers to get a shot. The downside is that there is no manual control. If it can't lock on a focus point, you are out of luck. It also has a good low light ability as long as neither it nor its subject moves while it's getting the image. I bought mine on eBay several years ago, but recently saw one in BestBuy as an 'open' item. That blew me away.

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Digital otoscope
by sunray / September 5, 2005 12:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Digital otoscope

I understand the application is for making images of retina via the dilated pupil. Is this correct?
Do you know optical magnification of the normal (manual - visual examination)instrument used in the eye clinics? It might be possible to make one using a good webcamn or 2MP digital camera.

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Did not read the original post carefully
by sunray / September 5, 2005 12:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Digital otoscope

Replying to my own message. I have mis-understood the otoscope functionality as that seems to relate to examination of ears.
However, I am interested in making a cost effective eye retina examination unit with webcam/cheap digicam.(hence responded to this quickly!) Hence if any of you know the question I had in the earlier post, please reply.

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digital ophthalmoscope
by mccrosky / September 6, 2005 3:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Digital otoscope

Standard ophthalmoscopes (like Welch Allyn) have a lens selection disc that is adjusted to compensate for the patient's vision or to view different depths of the eye. The lenses are both plus (+) and minus (-) 40, 25, 20, 15, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0.
I dont know what the values represent but I would like to learn more about magnification for the otoscope project. I'm would also be interested in the development of a low cost digital ophthalmoscope.

There is an example of a handmade ophthalmoscope made without magnification at:


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digital otoscopes
by jamesbaumbach / October 6, 2008 11:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Digital otoscope

listen, i am a medical doctor working in colombia and am an inventor and i have a small company that manufactures inexpensive otoscopes
( the mila illuminating ear scope)
please contact me so that we can have a conversation about low cost digital otoscopes and other potential projects.....thanks james

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Digital otoscope
by foramenrotundum / August 21, 2008 2:52 PM PDT

Hi there,
i've been looking around for cheap digital otoscope as well! .. anyways, i think it would be possible to get a reasonable webcam with reasonable closeup shot capabilites and attach it directly to an otoscope. you could probably get hold of a fairly cheap/simple medical otoscope at ebay. At present i'm actually sourcing out for a webcam, so in due time i hope to post my digital otoscope creation!!

cheers every1!!

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