Games can serve, in addition to mere entertainment, to empower users to make quick decisions or to acquire new skills. If this were not enough, games can also make it possible to collaboratively establish diagnoses by non-medical experts, something they have already put into practice at the Health Research Center in Manhia (Mozambique).
The researchers have taken photographic samples using a mobile phone to which a small microscope has been attached. They have taken photos of those patients who suffer from malaria symptoms, which they later uploaded to MalariaSpot, which is what the game is called, where users from anywhere in the world without needing to relate to the world of medicine have started to analyze them since their mobile equipment and devices (available in web version and as a mobile application for Android and iOS), returning the results to the aforementioned research center.
According to Inc Agencies, the average time elapsed since the images uploaded to MalariaSpot are sent and the results are received is less than fifteen minutes. To make this possible, the game uses a technology developed by researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and is part of a pilot project, in which the Ashoka Foundation has also participated, in which some three years of development have been invested, allowing the participation of more than 30,000 players from more than one hundred countries in the world.
As Miguel Luengo Oroz, researcher responsible for MalariaSpot explains:
We have implemented a prototype of an idea and technology with the potential to democratize access to medical imaging diagnostics. But we are in a critical moment and we need sponsors and investors so that this project can go ahead in Spain.
The idea now is to take this project to establish diagnoses of other diseases as a game, for which it will also continue to design low-cost microscopes for mobile devices to put in the users' hands those photographic images with which to play and establish a collaborative diagnosis in such a short time interval.