Comment C1 Re: Cool ... wait a minute ...


3D Printed Paper Microscope to Help Combat Malaria


Cool ... wait a minute ... (Score: 4, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-09 20:25 (#BK)

My first reaction when I saw this blurb was, 'awesome - this will help.' But on further reflection, it's more of an interesting conversation piece than a technological improvement that is going to make any difference.

I happen to know something about life with malaria. I've lived in Senegal for nearly 4 years and lived in Benin for another 4 before that, and I've also spent 5 in Nicaragua and 1 in Indonesia. So that's fourteen years in malarial countries, and in the case of Benin, extremely malarial. But lack of microscopes isn't really the issue. Even in poor countries like Benin there are medical clinics with doctors, and state hospitals that even the very poor go to. And those clinics have microscopes and labs. Lousy ones, but they're there. Let's say this technology adds another 100 microscopes per country - that's useful, but not huge.

Because equally in short supply are doctors who know how to diagnose and treat malaria, lab technicians who know how to identify and categorize it under the microscope (there are several different strains, and you treat them differently), and of course you need the medicine as well.

So this is cool, and it would be fun to whip up an origami microscope at a cocktail party full of nerds. It might help you catch the eye of a potential love interest. But I suspect its impact will be that this level of creativity and technological advance will lead to *other* advances, with higher impact than this.

Or maybe I'm just jealous because I've never invented anything that cool.

Re: Cool ... wait a minute ... (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-10 06:18 (#C1)

Also it assumes "suitable paper available". Which in some areas might be a stretch. But a microscope is basically just two lenses and a sliding tube; it need not be complicated nor expensive. I use a toy microscope for livestock stuff, and it's sufficient to view bacteria and parasites.


Time Reason Points Voter
2014-03-12 06:55 Interesting +1

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