SA’s hearX Group crowdfunding for smartphone device

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South African e-health startup the hearX Group has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for its new product hearScope, a smartphone device for testing hearing.

Disrupt Africa reported last week the hearX Group, which was developed at the University of Pretoria in 2013 and launched as a startup during 2015, had raised just over US$2.8 million in investment and grant funding to help it expand internationally and build its product range.

Its first product, hearScreen, was a smartphone app that detects hearing loss and links patients to health services, while the hearX Group has also rolled out a host of other products. The latest one – hearScope – is smartphone-attached pen that visualises the eardrum with artificial intelligence-backend analyses for diagnosis of ear disease. It is simple enough for parents to use on their kids.

Following the successful product reveal of hearScope at the Africa Health 2017 event, the hearX Group have now launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for the project. Backers will be given the opportunity to become one of the first to own a hearScope device.

“Middle ear infection – Otitis Media – is one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor. Its complications are a leading cause of preventable hearing loss in the developing world and globally hearing loss associated with middle ear infections, affects 330 million people every year. An otoscope is the most common tool for diagnosing ear disease and our digital technology is revolutionising this tool for use with a smartphone by anyone, anywhere,” said the hearX Group.

“hearScope is a smart, affordable, easy to use, mobile solution for accurate diagnosis of ear disease. The high-quality variable magnification otoscope “pen” connects to a smartphone running the hearScope application. hearScope is a diagnostic aid for doctors, nurses and healthcare providers but can also be used by parents to track and monitor their children’s ear health.”

In future, hearScope will be enhanced by image analysis software and artificial intelligence systems to provide accurate, automated diagnoses of the most common forms of ear disease.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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