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Otologic Technologies Announces Patent, Opens Funding Round

Otologic Technologies, Inc., a Wisconsin-based health-tech startup developing an artificial intelligence (AI) system to improve treatment of ear disease, announced the issuance of US Patent No. 10,932,662, “System and Method of Otoscopy Image Analysis to Diagnose Ear Pathology.” The patent explains a novel artificial intelligence system to help doctors better diagnose ear disease.

“One of the biggest challenges in diagnosing ear disease is the difficult nature of an ear exam,” said Aaron Moberly, MD, associate professor of otolaryngology at The Ohio State University and one of the inventors of the technology. “Even experienced doctors can have trouble with a live ear exam, as patients are usually uncomfortable and the view can be obstructed. Today’s ear exam process doesn’t scale well into the modern world of telemedicine and remote diagnosis.”

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In 2015, Dr. Moberly began an ongoing collaboration with Metin Gurcan, PhD, an artificial intelligence (AI) expert at The Ohio State University. Together and with the support of a National Institutes of Health Award, their teams developed an AI system that processes multiple frames from an ear exam video into a still image with improved lighting, improved focus, and digitally removed obstructions. Their work resulted in nine academic papers and the US patent application, which was issued on March 2, 2021. International versions of the patent application are currently undergoing examination.

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“Our approach is to apply artificial intelligence techniques to otoscopy and help primary care providers and advance care practitioners,” said Dr. Gurcan. Advanced care practitioners such as physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners are increasingly relied on to diagnose ear disease in primary care offices and rural health clinics.

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Otologic Technologies holds an exclusive license to the technology worldwide. Dr. Moberly serves as the company’s chief medical officer, and Dr. Gurcan, currently Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Wake Forest School of Medicine, serves as the company’s chief consulting scientist.

The company is also announcing a seed funding round, seeking to raise $500,000 to integrate the technology into a telemedicine-oriented clinical decision support system.

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