Ear infections, the number one reason parents take kids to the doctor, are an exceedingly common and exceedingly annoying fact of life. But a new smartphone app and accessory could help ease the irritation (of going to to the doctor's on a false alarm) by promising to diagnose ear infections right from home.

CellScope's Oto Home kit includes an otoscope, not too different from the tool doctors use to peer inside the ear. The otoscope attaches to a smartphone camera, and then a video of the ear can be set to a doctor for consultation. The whole process doesn't come cheap: The kit itself is $79 and each consultation is $49 (though the first one is free). Still, that may be worth skipping the hassle of a doctor's office.

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The Oto Home is still only available for preorder, but it is yet another entry in the burgeoning field of remote diagnosis. There's also Peek, a smartphone app that uses the flash of the camera to diagnose cataracts. Recently, after some complications from a surgery, I found myself texting photos of my swollen leg to the doctor-on-call. It felt weird at first, but I was grateful for actual medical advice to put out the flames of my Google-fueled paranoia. [Popular Science]

Top image: CellScope