A new wristwatch has been invented in South Africa which is capable of detecting the malaria parasites in the body of the wearer. This is done by automatically collecting the blood samples of the person who is wearing the watch, and if the malaria parasite is found, it warns the person. Gervan Lubbe has developed the watch which obtains blood samples with a microscopic needle that automatically penetrates the skin twice during the day and twice at night.
An alarm sounds if the parasite count is above 50, before the first symptoms appear.
According to Lubbe, at that point an antidote in the form of tablets should be consumed and, within 48 hours, all traces of malaria are eliminated from the body. Malaria is the single biggest killer on the African continent, claiming close to three million lives a year.
Traditionally when signs of malaria become apparent, the parasite count is at approximately 3,000, at which stage quinine (the malaria drug) needs to be administered which is reported to be more dangerous than the parasite itself. Lubbe's company Gervans Trading is now developing the device for millions of employees of a major mining group.
With the wristwatch, each miner will walk through a scanner, similar to a metal detector, and the watch's radio frequency will transmit the wearer's information to a central computer.
'My biggest concern is whether we'll be able to supply the world market,' said Lubbe.
Battery operated and water resistant, with durable rubber to withstand high-frequency vibrations, the watch's alarm rings every 35 days to remove the small metal sieve and wash the old blood away. The watch will be available soon from travel agents and outdoor stores.