Stanford Bioengineers Develops a 20-cent Device to Help Detect Malaria [Video]


Using a cheap and affordable tool to help detect Malaria, one of the life-threatening diseases caused by mosquitos, can be a significant help for the poorest countries in the world. And scientists from Stanford University just made it possible.

Manu Prakash, a bio-engineer at Stanford University, is one of the most brilliant students who aims to design helpful tools that can be used by people from the poorest parts of the world, BBC reported, and this tool only costs 20 cents.

Prakash and his team built a mathematical model of how a centrifuge worked, and according to Deccan Chronicle, a centrifuge is a medical tool that is being used in order to separate liquids, like blood.

The tool was inspired by toys like yoyo and whirly gig, which are both made using a spherical object suspended on threads which are being pulled by a person in order to make it spin. Prakash and his team came up with a computer simulation which allowed them to capture a design variables. They utilized physics equations on the device that spin blood in a capillary covered with an orange-colored dye for 15 minutes. By doing this, they were finally able to separate malarial parasites from the red blood cells which made it easier for them to be spotted under a microscope.

Prakash presented this tool at the Ted (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Vancouver. Together with this tool, he also launched a citizen science project that works by identifying disease-carrying mosquitoes based on their sounds.

Prakash just really has a penchant for creating low-cost scientific tools that are most useful to the poorest communities in the world. He told the audience during conference that there are billions of people in world who live with no infrastructure, electricity, nor health care and that is why he is into frugal science, to be able to create solutions for these communities.

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