Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education
Bachelor of Science
Date of Expected Graduation
The ear canal is a sensitive and small part of the human body that is prone to accumulate cerumen or lodge foreign bodies. In order to clean the ear canal or remove foreign bodies, three hands are required: one to brace the patient's head, one to maneuver the curette that is used to clean the ear, and one to hold a light source in order to make the small, dark area visible. Therefore, a design is needed that can allow a doctor to safely clean an ear with an instrument that only requires two hands. Furthermore, the design must have disposable curette tip attachments in the form of both a scoop (used to clean the ear) and tweezers (used to remove foreign bodies), while remaining affordable.
To make this possible, a design was created that has both a tweezer and scoop disposable attachment that connect onto a reusable handle. A small lighted camera snaps onto the disposable curettes a few centimeters from the end of the tip. When the curette is inserted into the ear, the camera displays a video of the inner ear onto a screen, allowing the user complete visualization as they work, decreasing procedure time and increasing comfort.
This report outlines the background, design strategies and results of the ear curette design created. The resulting product is a prototype created using a 3D printer to demonstrate how the curette assembles and functions. Further development of this prototype and the creation of a complete manufacturing plan is necessary before it is ready to be used in a medical setting.
Klotzle, Kaitlin; Ashmore, Kelsey; Yamamoto, Crysta; Elfrink, Katrina; and Stoller, Cynthia, "Lighted Ear Curette" (2017). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 477.