New App Diagnoses Malaria Just from Photographs

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For once, here’s a smartphone app that does something more productive than knocking over pig-built structures or killing time in a waiting room: A team of grad students across the country have adapted a Samsung Focus phone running Windows 7 to allow it to instantly diagnose malaria.

The student, led by 25-year-old University of Central Florida computer engineering student Tristan Gibeau, created the app for this year’s Imagine Cup 2011, a Microsoft-sponsored contest that challenges its entrants to create technology that betters the world, using the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as a basis. With two of those goals being “Reducing child mortality” and “Combating widespread disease,” an app that allows medical professionals to diagnose malaria simply by taking a photo of it – No internet connection is even required – seems to be well-placed to win. Gibeau, who hopes to adapt this app to identify other diseases, is looking past winning a contest, however:

It’s going to make a difference in trying to contain the outbreak of malaria. In the big picture, it’ll hopefully help in the fight against most diseases out there and make everybody’s life a little easier.

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