Student Project Use Smartphone Camera to Diagnose Malaria, Save Lives
This year’s Imagine Cup 2011, a student contest sponsored by Microsoft, asked student entrants to "imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems."
Few problems come tougher than malaria, which kills 1 million children a year, mostly in developing countries with little infrastructure and few resources.
Tristan Gibeau and Wilson To ‘s LifeLens app hopes to help reduce this number by speeding diagnosis of the disease by reducing the need for an expensive and often unavailable laboratory to spot the parasite in blood.
"It's going to make a difference in trying to contain the outbreak of malaria," said Gibeau, the project's software designer. "In the big picture, it'll hopefully help in the fight against most diseases out there and make everybody's life a little easier."
Gibeau said the software application, which runs on a Windows Phone 7 handset with a special lens attached to the phone camera, can take a picture of a blood sample, process the data to detect malaria parasites, quantify how much malaria is in the sample and point the parasites out to the phone user. "It actually draws a red box around the clusters of malaria, and it actually notifies you how many it found," Gibeau said.
Gibeau is planning to expand the technology to allow the diagnosis of sickle cell disease and other diseases, and the student also hopes to eventually make a living out of developing the concept further.
“From different conversations we've had with investors, we feel that this definitely is a money-maker," he said.
Read more about the life-saving project at LifeLensProject.com here.