Malaria diagnosis device wins MIT $100K

Disease Diagnostic group chief executive John Lewandowski pitches during the MIT $100K finale on Wednesday (photo by Kyle Alspach)
Disease Diagnostic group chief executive John Lewandowski pitches during the MIT $100K finale on Wednesday (photo by Kyle Alspach)


Startups MIT

Disease Diagnostic Group, a startup with a new device that aims to save the lives of people with malaria, has won the 2014 MIT $100K business competition.

The device uses a simple magnet and laser to reveal whether or not there are malaria parasites present in a patient’s blood (the more detailed description is here). The portable, plastic device is reusable, noted chief executive John Lewandowski, a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lewandowski said the low-cost device has the potential to save a million lives a year every year — people who wouldn’t normally have access to a malaria diagnostic test.

The startup has prototypes in clinical trials currently in India and Peru.

The $100,000 won through the competition will be used to produce more of the devices, Lewandowski said. The company has letters of interest for 10 million units for 2015, he said.

Disease Diagnostic Group was chosen from among eight finalist teams for this year’s $100K competition.

The full list (with descriptions from MIT):


Unified Solar: Winner of the Clean Energy Prize. Shade brings energy loss, reliability concerns, and a constrained market. And we have a solution. ($15,000 track winner)


Agile Devices: Today’s microcatheters can’t change stiffness, yet this is necessary for rounding and pushing past sharp vessel bends, respectively. This means doctors must spend time nudging the device or inserting a new device. Agile Devices solves this problem with the first adjustable-stiffness microcatheter. ($15,000 track winner)


RapidSOS: RapidSOS is developing a suite of proprietary technologies to transform emergency response & communication. ($15,000 track winner)

Barnacle: Barnacle ships your most treasured possessions through a trusted network of drivers already en route.


THOR Tourniquet: The THOR tourniquet is a novel, rapid-application device stemming blood flow to severely damaged limbs in high-stress scenarios: for military use on the battlefield. Our quick cinch design allows the user to rapidly apply the tourniquet, leaving less room for error: a critical, life-saving device. ($15,000 track winner)

AnfiroWater: self-assembling high-permeability polymer membranes enable clean and affordable water for a better tomorrow


Disease Diagnostic Group: DDG is one step closer to saving a million lives with refrigerator magnets and a laser pointer. ($15,000 track winner)


Definitive Drone Data: D3 – Definitive Drone Data is an end-to-end data management system and application platform for commercial drones. ($15,000 track winner)

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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