It was afternoon in the San Francisco headquarters of Frog, the design firm best known for its hand in creating the iconic look of products like Apple's original Macintosh computers. Hailey Stewart, one of Frog's industrial designers, had scattered an array of prototypes on a table. On one end, you could see cylinders of foam that looked almost like skinny vibrators, with handles that stuck out at different angles and sketches of levers and screw mechanisms. And on the other, the common speculum—the device used in routine gynecological exams to inspect the cervix.
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A pelvic exam involves physically and visually examining the female reproductive and sexual organs. It allows a doctor to look for signs of infection and illness. They will examine the:. Doctors often perform pelvic exams to check for sexually transmitted infections STIs , yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis. A pelvic exam is often performed on the same day as other preventive screenings — a breast examination and a Pap smear.
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The vaginal speculum — that creepy looking metal device used to examine the vagina and cervix — has remained largely unchanged since the 19th century. But a team of female designers in San Francisco is looking to give the unfriendly implement a new design. In an interview with Wired , the designers described the hazards of the current one as the noise, the temperature and the feeling inside. Their prototype, by contrast, is made of three leaves that open silently.
The recent cases of Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, the physician for the U.