I had a fantastic time helping to judge the Imagine Cup 2011 US Software Design category in Redmond last week. I’ve already written about the winner in that category, Note-Taker. The runner up is definitely no slouch. The work this team is doing is very important and can help save a countless number of lives.
Lifelens is introducing something truly innovative: a point-of-care tool which will diagnose Malaria using a mobile phone application. This project addresses the high child mortality rates which are caused by the lack of detection and available early treatment. The solution has a huge potential to reduce the high costs of diagnosis and treatment of Malaria. This will allow more children around the world to be treated under the amount of funding that is available already.
As of right now, you have to go through a long process in order to diagnose Malaria, including looking at samples under a microscope. With Lifelens, that process is much faster with a scanning algorithm. The app is able to count cells and find out everything going on very quickly. Millions of people die from Malaria every year, and this project may cut that number down drastically. They’re taking technology which is old and slow, putting it literally into people’s hands and then save a lot of lives.
The software scans and detects how many infected cells there are. The person can then upload the data to the Cloud and geo-locate exactly where the sample was taken. Doctors and scientists can use the data to hopefully begin to help predicting patterns and ways to prevent an outbreak.
The team also has plans to be able to detect other blood-borne viruses and diseases in general, such as Anemia and Sickle-Cell Disease. Talk about life-changing technology! Kudos to this team of talented young people.