Fraunhofer IPMS and OtoNexus Medical Technologies work together employing MEMS components to help diagnose middle ear Infections

The Fraunhofer IPMS is a research and development center for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). The expertise of Fraunhofer IPMS has been proven in several fully functional and commercialized micromechanical systems such as micro mirrors and spatial light modulators. Recent developments focus on exploiting the existing technological base to develop ultrasound components.

Fraunhofer IPMS is using a special MEMS technology which is highly reproducible and reliable in manufacturing. Besides the technological intrinsic capability of producing millions of identical units it can also be used for integrating driver and evaluation electronics in one chip together with the ultrasound transducer making complex systems more reliable and cost effective. Furthermore, IPMS technology avoids the usage of any hazardous or toxic materials delivering REACH and RoHS conforming parts.

Fraunhofer Yole

Fraunhofer IPMS’ unique technology generates capacitors on the surface of silicon wafers. The ability of the capacitors to use one electrode as a suspension makes a swing movement possible. The Fraunhofer IPMS technology allows to excite the moveable plate to swing in a wide frequency range to generate ultrasound signals. However, the structures can do both send and receive. Components based on this operational mode are called CMUTs (capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducers).

Fraunhofer IPMS has partnered with OtoNexus Medical Technologies – a Seattle, USA, based company that is developing a novel medical device to quickly and accurately provide quantitative information helping clinicians diagnose middle ear infections (otitis media). Using a CMUT in a system which can operate in the human external ear canal it is possible to assess the contents of the middle ear behind the ear drum within seconds. With that capability it can be determined whether the middle ear contains air or liquid and distinguish between various disease conditions. This valuable information helps clinicians decide if a prescription of antibiotics is needed.

OtoNexus is bringing to market much needed innovation by incorporating ultrasound into the familiar looking otoscope while allowing the doctor to maintain their current workflow”, noted Mark Moehring, PhD, CTO and Co-founder of OtoNexus. He added “working with the world class scientists and engineers at Fraunhofer IPMS to develop the ultrasound technology of our device – the CMUT – has been an experience of teaming and excellence. Their technology, and expertise in this field is unparalleled.”

OtoNexus will present its innovative technology incorporating Fraunhofer IPMS CMUT devices at MEDICA. To learn more visit our partners from OtoNexus at MEDICA in Düsseldorf, Germany from November 12-15, 2018 in Hall 16, Booth D10-1.