New TU Delft TV episode: Tropical disease detection by smartphone
In today’s TU Delft TV video, Temitope Agbana explains how to detect a tropical disease by a smartphone.
Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease which accounts for almost 200,000 deaths a year and affects over 285 million people worldwide.
The disease is caused by parasitic flatworms, the schistosomes, and can infect the urinary tract or the intestines. “It is a slow killer,” explains Temitope Agbana. “It doesn’t kill like malaria, but causes severe damage over a long period of time.”
Microscopy was used as the conventional method to determine infection. “When the worms grow into adults, they start laying eggs. Someone had to count those eggs to estimate the load infection.” Agbana felt this method was outdated and decided to come up with smart algorithms to count the eggs. Accompanied by a hardware system, these algorithms can now be used by people who are not medically trained.
To make the urine suitable for smartphone detection, Agbana and his team came up with a very simple and locally sourced way to filter it. “Once that is done you place it under our device and press the button. It will then tell you the visible amount of eggs and infection load.”
Agbana’s goal is to set up a production company sometime in the future. “So that we can produce these devices locally, and hopefully solve the problem.”
A download link to the video can be found here.