Malaria; a word that quite literally fills dread through our veins. In 2017 approximately 660,000 people died due to it, and even today 40% of the world’s population is at the risk of it. Developing nations especially Sub-Saharan Africa are Malaria’s most affected victims, and these countries are the most ill-equipped to deal with it. The tests currently available to detect malaria are highly limited and not at all economical. Specialized testing instruments and highly trained medical staff are required to actually handle and judge blood samples. Unable to meet these requirements for the detection of Malaria, developing nations are rampant with it. Hence Detroit based product designer Minwoo Lee designed ‘Aria’.
Aria is a portable medical product created with the sole purpose of detecting malaria utilizing Infrared Light. Aria eradicates the need for medical specialists, expensive equipment and highly trained staff. It performs the functions of all. Lee chose infrared light as the hero of the day, because it can be used to detect the presence of Malaria causing parasites in the blood, and can even ascertain the number of parasites present. ‘Attenuated Total Reflection-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy’ is a test that harnesses infrared light to detect parasites through the molecular vibrations they create. The light increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, in turn killing the viral, bacterial and fungal toxins in the blood.
Shaped like a capsule, Aria contains a smaller plastic capsule or a mini Aria that is used for the collection of blood. Simply smear the blood sample onto mini Aria and insert it into the larger capsule. The infrared light activates and a digital microscope examines the blood. The microscope provides details and observations, and this final result is then displayed on the screen. The images of the blood cells on the screen will help to determine whether they have been infected by Malaria or not.
The actual benefit and functionality of Aria are unparalleled. It is a game-changer for the medical field, enabling the quick and efficient detection of Malaria, allowing it to be treated in its early stage, and thereby saving the lives of millions. This is a concept that needs to be transformed into a tangible product pronto! Aria is not just a design concept, it’s a future lifesaver.
Designer: Minwoo Lee