We have seen novelty telescope attachments for smartphones in the past, but how about a different kind of attachment – one that works as a microscope and serves as a research and education tool to allow the viewing of the Malaria virus when there is no laboratory available.
According to Smartplanet:
After smearing a drop of blood from a small finger prick on the microscope lens, the app magnifies and analyzes the sample – taking a photo of it, detecting malarial parasites and ruptured blood cells, conducting blood cell counts for anemia, and quantifying how infected the sample is.
“It actually draws a red box around the clusters of malaria, and it actually notifies you how many it found,” says team member Tristan Gibeau at University of Central Florida in Orlando.
According to Gibeau, the app takes the currently available microscopic lenses for smartphones to another level – enabling doctors and nurses working in rural villages lacking internet access to make diagnoses without having to upload data for processing elsewhere.
And once data stored in phoned are uploaded, Bing maps can be used to spot disease trends.
The design and app took second in a competition called Imagine Cup, which seeks innovative solutions to challenging problems, and usually ends up pairing innovators to funding partners:
The design took home second place at the Imagine Cup 2011 US Finals, a competition sponsored by Microsoft to “imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.” The scientific basis of the project was formulated by team member Wilson To at the University of California, Davis, who won last year’s national finals.
The team is already in funding talks and hopes to soon move on to lab and field testing for their innovative technology.
I love reading about these types of innovations – it is practical and results driven, and showcases the great young minds we have working on problems that were unassailable just years ago!