PHOENIX — An innovative and affordable way to detect blood disease could be on the horizon thanks to a Valley inventor who’s still in high school.
Ella Wang took a trip to India a few years ago having no idea it would inspire her to create an award-winning medical device.
The 17-year-old saw first-hand the way blood diseases are treated in developing countries and how socioeconomic barriers put them at a disadvantage.
“Without a more developed health care system, there are few resources and fewer facilities and not many medical professionals that are available to treat these diseases,” Wang told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
She found screening centers with backlogs of data due to people being unsure if they should take a treatment since they weren’t able to get screened for blood disease in the area.
That’s when the soon-to-be senior at BASIS Chandler created HemaVision, an affordable and accessible way to detect blood disease.
She created a microscope using a 3-D printer that can attach to the camera of a phone and capture blood smear images.
Wang said the model was inspired by one of her class projects.
“An odd way to start out, but I actually got the idea for the mobile microscope in art class where we were making these acrylic dome magnets,” Wang said.
She didn’t stop at just the microscope, Wang programmed a web application to analyze the blood smear images and identify diseases within the blood cells.
Wang has achieved 98% accuracy in testing so far.
The invention is also accessible and affordable with a price tag of only $7.17.
HemaVision was considered so groundbreaking it claimed first place and $5,000 in the Regeneron International and Intelligent Science and Engineering Fair in the Robotics and Intelligent Machines category, which is the world’s largest international science competition.
Her project now moves on to clinical testing.
“I’m hoping to implement it into these clinical settings and actually make an impact on patient outcomes,” Wang said.
Despite the awards and money, Ella says what means the most to her is creating something that truly makes a difference.
Wang hopes to attend Stanford University after high school.