Diagnosing pathogen infections often involves visualizing blood samples under a microscope. In the usual procedure, blood samples are drawn and sent to a lab to make observations. However, in some regions of the world, this process doesn’t cut it due to poverty, remoteness, or even natural disasters.
The setup consists of a 1mm ball lens attached to a smartphone’s or tablet’s camera plus software that analyzes the image.Athelas project comes to the rescue. Winner of the YC Hacks competition, the setup consists of a 1mm ball lens attached to a smartphone’s or tablet’s camera plus software that analyzes the image. The application can take its own microscopy photograph or use the one taken earlier. It then processes the image, providing a malarial cell count, along with its confidence that the parasite has infected the host.
The project pitch goes like this: a malaria test that requires no expertise, takes a few seconds, and costs next to nothing. All on a smartphone – holding potential to save thousands of lives.
Folks behind this technology say this test is perfect for rural areas in the emerging markets of the world, where under-developed infrastructure can stand on the way of efficient malaria diagnosis.
Athelas has yet to reach many users to prove its worth, but from what we can tell – the folks behind this idea are onto something.