OtoNexus Medical technologies, a company based out of the United States developed a revolutionary otoscope which constitutes of a unique CMUT chip form Fraunhofer IPMS based on ultrasound technology; at its heart.
There is a lot of subjectivity involved when it comes to diagnosing infections of the middle ear. Incidentally many patients, who are not even infected, unfortunately get treated by the typical course of treatment that involved antibiotics. Being treated by antibiotics for a condition that is not even there can lead to severe issues including the creation of bacteria that are antibiotic resistant.
A new ultrasound transducer has been developed by the researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Micro systems IMPS based in Germany. The already existing otoscopes need o be integrated with this new ultrasound transducer to help provide clarity in viewing the middle ear, thus aiding better diagnosis by the physicians. In order to integrate their newly developed transducer into an otoscope and test it for a clinical trial, the team of Fraunhofer has collaborated with a Seattle, Washington based company called OtoNexus Technologies.
Ear drum is barely visible when conventional otoscopes are used. For making a diagnosis, secondary signs of infections are needed to be studied however this causes improper diagnosis of nearly 50 percent of the cases. In a press release, a physicist at Fraunhofer IPMS, Dr. Sandro Koch explained that there hasn’t been any update on the classic otoscope in over decades. Its integration with their ultrasound transducer, new functionalities become possible as the transducer is both a transmitter and receiver.
Manufacturing the new transducer also called “Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer” or CMUT, is inexpensive. It is much smaller than the existing ultrasound technologies as it can be miniaturized. The otherwise poorly diagnosed and treated middle ear infection might get a breakthrough with this new development which is already being trialed.
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