San Francisco-Based Cellscope Unveils Mobile App, Tool to Diagnose Ear Infections

Need help checking for an infection? There's a tool and app for that. San Francisco-based Cellscope created the “Oto” to help you get a remote diagnosis from a doctor fast.

"We can provide the magnified, and illumination that a doctor needs to see a great quality image of the eardrum,” said Cellscope Co-Founder and CEO Erik Douglas.

They call it the Cellscope Oto, short for otoscope, because it’s like the tool doctors use to check your ears. You can attach the Oto to your smartphone, open the app, and put the tip of the Oto in your kid's ear. The device magnifies the picture from your smartphone camera and sends a recording to a doctor.

"The doctor responds within two hours and gives you a diagnosis, a treatment plan, can call in a prescription if necessary. It saves you that trip, saves you that worry,” Douglas said.

Ear infections account for roughly 30 million trips to the doctor each year in the U.S. and are most common in children.

If you want to skip the doctor's office, the Oto costs $79. Each time you send a recording to a doctor for diagnosis, it costs $49.

It’s not covered by insurance and parents we spoke with had mixed reactions.

"At night, let's say you can't reach the doctor but you actually want to get some assistance...I'll give it a shot,” said father Mano Pillai.

“I'm skeptical because it seems like an unnecessary expense. I've had four kids, and I have a grandson now and I can tell if they have an ear infection. I don't need any device,” said mother Jamie Barker.

The Cellscope Oto went on sale Tuesday and is only available in California.

Douglas says the company is working on similar tools to help diagnose other infections in the future.

Contact Us