Speaker Spotlight: Cy Khormaee
Cy Khormaee knows that simple innovations can create tremendous change. Just one drop of blood can have a big impact when diagnosing Malaria. Cy and the LifeLens team introduced us to their innovative point-of-care smartphone application at CIW (you can watch Cy & Wilson’s CIW Talk here) and we were blown away by their technology! We caught up with Cy as he is taking LifeLens to the next level.
Here’s what he had to say:
Recently, I prepared a presentation to help Harvard Business School students understand the concept of shared value – the elusive goal of generating both economic and social value simultaneously. In the past it was assumed that organizations had to rely on a double bottom line concept where they attempt to balance both missions. However, this often leads to one of the two being cannibalized. Through the development of The LifeLens Project we have created a system where the social and economic drivers serve as mutual catalysts.
LifeLens is a unique technology born from the desperate need for Malaria diagnostic technology in the developing world. At its core, Lifelens is a software and hardware package that transforms a common smart phone into a mobile blood lab. This provides a low cost mobile diagnostic tool that can be mastered in minutes by local aid workers.
In the developing world this technology has the potential to save millions of lives by providing access to care where none exists. It also has the potential to provide value in the developed world by augmenting our state of the art laboratories.
Today, a blood test in America requires hours of and hundreds of dollars. This high barrier prevents many from regularly testing – regardless of economic means – even when more frequent screening could lead to early diagnosis of any variety of maladies ranging from anemia to cancer.
We found that the same technology that is used to diagnose malaria in the third world can be used to provide convenient testing in the first. This first world application creates an economic incentive to drive the progression of the social mission, while the third world provides the unique challenges that advance the system design to become a more robust solution.
From the time we spoke at Chicago Ideas Week, we have received $75,000 in additional funding from Microsoft to further the development of Lifelens. You can follow our progress at theLifeLensproject.com.
Cy Khormaee is a 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup award-winner for creating an innovative point-of-care tool to diagnose malaria on smart phones, LifeLens.