The app takes a high-resolution image of the sample with a microscopic camera lens that is actually able to see the parasites. It then counts the number of parasites and reports on the severity of the infection, according to Switched.
One important detail is that the app is self-contained, and doesn't require Internet connectivity to do its job, the app's creators tell Switched. It's a key factor for health workers in the field with little to no access to the Web, they say.
The app has captured the attention of judges in Microsoft's technology contest, the Imagine Cup, earning a spot in the finals. But that may only be the beginning, according to team leader and the software's designer, Tristan Gibeau. The team created the malaria app for the contest, but Gibeau tells Switched that he wants to go on to create apps for sickle cell and other diseases, as well.
One interesting note: Rather than debuting on the ubiquitous iPhone or Android, the prototype was built on a Windows Phone 7-enabled Samsung Focus smartphone. No word yet on whether it will be ported over to other platforms as well.