A single drop of blood, from a finger prick, it’s not Theranos but Octopi, a cool medical innovation for the 3 billions at risk of malaria: “a low-cost ($250-$500) automated imaging platform that can quantify malaria parasitemia by scanning 1.5 million red blood cells per minute.”
Malaria diagnosis today takes 30 minutes to 1 hour technician’s work on a manual microscope, putting a limit to the capacity of diagnosis centers in poor countries. Octopi combines microscopy, spectroscopy and flow cytometry to deliver a result in few minutes .
Octopi works off a phone charger. It analyzes slides at speeds that are 120 times faster than traditional microscopy. Weighing fewer than seven pounds, it’s portable. And at a do-it-yourself cost of $250 to $500. Its modular architecture means that it takes only changing the camera/imager to detect other parasites. It’s open technology, hardware and software
“We further implement a machine learning classifier and obtain anticipated performance of higher than 90% specificity and sensitivity for parasitemia of 50 parasites per µl and 100% sensitivity and specificity for parasitemia of 150 parasites per µl. Our results suggest that low-cost automated multimodal microscopy combined with machine learning tools have the potential to address the unmet needs for diagnosis of malaria and many other diseases.”