The most reliable test for malaria is microscopic examination of blood films for presence of the parasite. The problem with this is that it requires equipment, and an expert on-site to use it. Some researchers have recently indicated the promise of combining microscopy with mobile phones, in order to mitigate the requirement for an expert to be physically present, and others have investigated the use of computer vision techniques for automatic classification, so that a human expert need not be available at all.
However, all of this work has been undertaken in ideal laboratory conditions. We are working on developing these ideas and to trial an automated diagnosis system in the field, intended for use by non-experts. We deal with thick blood film slides as shown.
For more information about this project here.
Work supported by Microsoft Research.