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Technology

The inventors have developed a Short Wavelength Infrared (SWIR) otoscope which could improve doctors' ability to diagnose middle ear infections. This device is composed of a light source, a SWIR camera, and a medical viewing instrument, such as an otoscope or an endoscope. The advantage of using SWIR light is the easier detection of middle ear fluid based on its strong light absorption.  Additionally, the shortwave infrared light can penetrate deeper within the tissue, enabling better visualization of the middle ear through the tympanic membrane. Using a SWIR otoscope, the middle ear with the presence of otitis media with effusion will become completely dark allowing for easy differentiation between the presence or absence of the middle ear fluid. In addition, under conditions of no otitis media, the SWIR otoscope is able to visualize in great detail the ossicular chain of the middle ear. This detail, which is obstructed by the tympanic membrane in visible and near-infrared imaging techniques, can allow an examiner to rule out ossicular chain disruptions.