Call me crazy, but I’ve always found some peace of mind knowing that the latest medical gadget scanning some worrisome part of my body isn’t an accessory for a smartphone, but costs in the millions of dollars and is the result of years of expensive research and development. However, as someone who has more than their fair share of moles dotted all over their body, I’m willing to make an exception for the handyscope. Consisting of an optical attachment and an accompanying app, the handyscope turns an iPhone into a digital dermoscope to provide an instantaneous up close look at potential skin cancers.

The handyscope features a case into which an iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 slides so that the iPhone’s camera aligns with the handyscope’s lens system. The device is then placed flush against the patient’s skin, which is illuminated by polarized light from the built-in LEDs. The device features a standardized zoom and auto-focus with images captured with a single tap using the iPhone app.

The images can be immediately viewed full screen with a magnification of up to 20x and saved with another tap. The shooting date and time is automatically recorded with saved the images, while patient data and other comments can also be added manually. The data is all encrypted and can be password protected so there’s no doctor/patient privilege privacy concerns.

One of the big pluses of the device, aside from its portability, is the ease with which images of suspicious moles can be shared with colleagues or uploaded to a second opinion service where world-renowned specialists can weigh in with their view.

"We developed the handyscope for all doctors who want to have the possibility to take pictures of the skin and work with them later. It is an alternative for those who miss the ‛capture-and-save-function’ when using conventional handheld dermatoscopes,” explains Andreas Mayer, chief executive officer of FotoFinder.

The handyscope has its own in-built 2400mAh battery pack, which will keep the LEDs running for up to eight hours and can be recharged with the standard iPhone USB cable.

FotoFinder will launch the handyscope in February at the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in New Orleans. Health professionals can order the handyscope for 1,166.20 euro (approx. US$1,590), while the app costs US$11.99 through the iTunes App Store.

Via medGadget