New campaign uses iPhones to diagnose malaria

We’ve heard crowdfunding stories about cool new gadgets which need extra cash to get them into distribution, but this latest campaign is for something altogether more altruistic, and potentially life-changing: an app which can identify malaria.

If caught in its early stages, malaria can be treated, but the traditional microscopic method of diagnosis costs both a lot of time and money. However when combined with a microscope attachment specifically for iPhone this app, designed by small London- and Jakarta-based company IanXen RAPID, can detect the disease more quickly, accurately and cost-effectively than conventional diagnostics.

By slotting an iPhone into a case attached to the special microscopic device, the app – which doesn’t require an internet connection to be used – can identify parasites in a patient’s blood using the iPhone’s camera. So far, accuracy has been at an extremely promising rate of 98%.

As per its name, the app can automatically identify all malaria parasites on an iPhone rapidly: in less than a second, to be exact. The front camera of the iPhone is also put to use, logging patients’ photos with a GPS location and timestamp.

The team hope to test out the effectiveness of IanXen RAPID on Bangka Island, Indonesia, during the height of the malaria season. They will attempt to entirely eradicate malaria from the region during the course of the project, which should take three months.

It’s a tall order, but one which could prove revolutionary in the way we test for a deadly disease which a potential 3.4 billion people are at risk of contracting.

Watch the video below to find out more.

Sadie Hale

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