Wednesday, June 26 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
MalariaSpot: Building a Global Network of Virtual Malaria Hunters Through Gameplay

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According to the World Health Organization, approximately 216 million cases of malaria occur in the world each year, and the disease kills about 655,000 people annually. Malaria is a treatable infectious disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.

Currently, the gold standard for malaria diagnosis worldwide consists of first detecting parasites, and then counting the number of parasites in blood smears by using a microscope. Usually, the more the parasites the more severe is the infection. An average of 100 images have to be visually checked by a specialist, a process that can take up to 30 minutes. Confirmation of a negative diagnosis is ultimately dependent on the technician’s expertise. In addition, over time, as malaria prevalence decreases, microscopy technician skills may be redeployed elsewhere.

Thus, we need scalable, fast, ubiquitous, and accurate screening systems (a priority in the agenda for malaria eradication). Mobile phone coverage is reaching every corner of the planet and we see the global connectivity as an opportunity to distribute the images all over the Internet.

We believe that there is so much online talent out there that can be used to analyze malaria images (while you play a game!). To start with, we have developed the MalariaSpot game. During the game, we will log all the player clicks (scores) – both parasites accurately hunted and mistakes – so the analysis of all the games played will allow us to learn (a) how fast and accurate the parasite counting of non-expert microscopy players is, and (b) how to combine the analyses of different players to obtain accurate results as good as the ones provided by expert microscopists.

avatar for Miguel A. Luengo-Oroz

Miguel A. Luengo-Oroz

MalariaSpot.org - Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, CEI Moncloa
[Games + Crowdsourcing + Artificial Intelligence + Mobile Technologies + Image Analysis + Diagnostics + Global Health + Big Data + People] Antidisciplinary scientist working on crowdsourcing, gamification and data science for global challenges in international development and global... Read More →

Wednesday June 26, 2013 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Room D: Freedom Room

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