3D printed diagnostic device against malaria with an old smartphone
With the development of the Excelscope, students from Delft expect to find a solution to make accurate malaria diagnosis available in developing countries. By using the camera of a smartphone, an optical lens, a 3D printer and a smart algorithm, nurses in overcrowded hospitals can automatically treat malaria patients, without the need for an expensive microscope or a professional. the pass has to come.
James Dyson Award
Every year, the James Dyson Award goes in search of new solutions. This international design award is intended to encourage the next generation of designers. It is the chance to become an inventor yourself. The assignment: design something that solves a problem, big or small, and where you do more with less. The students from Delft have developed something very special this year: a semi-automated and smart malaria diagnosis device that increases the quality as well as the quantity of the diagnoses per day.
The fight against malaria
A mosquito bite is innocent in the Netherlands (except for itching). But worldwide the mosquito of all animals causes by far the most dead, many of them malaria. Malaria is a life-threatening disease that mainly occurs in tropical and subtropical countries. More than 212 million cases of malaria are reported each year. Mortality is high in developing countries in particular, due to the lack of well-trained staff and diagnostic equipment.
Because diagnoses are not available for rural areas in developing countries, many people take malaria medication without being prescribed by a doctor. This, however, accelerates the resistance of malaria, which makes countries like Uganda even more difficult to cure malaria patients.
The Excelscope reuses an old smartphone as an economical and sustainable solution for diagnosing Malaria. The device includes a smartphone lens to detect malaria parasites in blood samples and a 3D printed system to perform the microscopic operations. The back of the phone has been adjusted to place the blood sample. The blood sample is automatically analyzed by an algorithm. This reduces the workload and diagnosis costs in developing countries, while increasing accuracy.
Also the design does not depend on an electricity grid and mobile services. Instead, it includes a rechargeable back-up battery and an SD card slot for physical data collection and transfer.
Faster, more durable and more reliable
In the current standard methods, much use is made of manual microscopy. However, these are time-consuming, expensive and require special expertise and training. Rapid diagnostic tests are also available, but these have proved to be very unreliable in practice.
The team therefore developed an affordable microscope by ‘hacking’ a cheap smartphone with a special lens so that it can be used as an affordable microscope. The students automated the analysis of a blood sample with a 3D printed Excelscope. This has developed a solution that is more accessible, accurate and reliable, reducing the workload for medical professionals.