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Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.


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Challenges: Cell Phone Applications
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Normal Cell Phone-Based Intelligent Biometrics for Children

Mohit Kumar, Hanseatic Institute of Technology e.V. (Rostock, Germany)
Mar 30, 2012

Mohit Kumar of the Hanseatic Institute of Technology in Germany will develop and test a simple biometrics program for its ability to identify children by analyzing images of their ears and foot creases captured by regular cell phone cameras. Images would be sent to a central server, which could then generate text messages back to healthcare workers and parents with health and vaccination information unique to that child.

A Non-invasive Cell Phone Imaging Probe for Diagnosing Malaria

Alberto Bilenca, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Beer-Sheva, Israel)
Dec 4, 2011

Alberto Bilenca of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel will develop a cell phone imaging system that can non-invasively detect malaria parasites in the blood. The system uses a polarized red laser pointer to illuminate tissue such as a finger tip, and a zoom lens and polarizing filter on existing cell phone cameras, to create images that depict hemozoin crystals in blood following malaria parasite infection, as well as micro-obstructions in the circulatory system that result from the infection.

Low Cost Method for Automating Vaccination Records, Patient Identification, and Improving Vaccine Safety

Richard Fletcher, General Hospital Corporation (Boston, Massachusetts, United States)
Oct 26, 2011

Richard Fletcher of Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health in the U.S., in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing a cell phone system that can aid in vaccination campaigns in developing countries. Cell phone cameras will capture images of hand vein patterns for biometric patient identification, tagging it via GPS to store vaccination location information, and cameras will also scan temperature indicator labels on doses to assess the quality and expiration of the vaccine.

Footprint Recognition to Support Childhood Vaccination

Stephen Davis, RMIT University (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Oct 14, 2011

Stephen Davis of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia will collect footprints from infants at 0, 2 and 6 months of age to test whether the spatial patterns produced by ridge lines and creases stay unique and constant despite the physical growth of the footprint. These footprints could be captured using low-tech mobile phone cameras to provide a biometric identification system for use in immunization programs.

Cell Phone-Based Vaccination Program for Stateless Children

Jaranit Kaewkungwal, BIOPHICS (Bangkok, Thailand)
Oct 10, 2011

Jaranit Kaewkungwal of Mahidol University in Thailand proposes to develop a phone-to-phone application that will transmit photo and name pronunciation information among health care workers to help achieve vaccination targets among stateless hill-tribal children in Thailand. The application could be expanded to include maternal healthcare and childhood diseases and nutrition.

Comprehensive Vaccination Service Delivery Model

Rustam Nabiev, Karolinska University Hospital (Stockholm, Sweden)
Oct 10, 2011

Rustam Nabiev of the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden will develop a vaccination delivery model that employs an application tool to be used with cell phones and a clinical decision support system to better coordinate vaccination programs in rural communities in Uganda. The goal is to use mobile devices to increase communication and enable better planning among the vital stakeholders in immunization efforts - which are families, community leaders, and health care workers.

ImmuNet: Targeted Immunization for Infants and Children

Elizabeth Belding, University of California Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, California, United States)
Oct 10, 2011

Elizabeth Belding and Amr El Abbadi of the University of California at Santa Barbara in the U.S. will develop and test a low-cost cellular architecture with an integrated information system that can track an individual's immunization status, disseminate vaccine-related information, and track at-risk populations.

Cell Phone-Based Iris Recognition Biometric Technology

Eldin Wee Chuan Lim, National University of Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)
Oct 7, 2011

Eldin Wee Chuan Lim of the National University of Singapore will work to develop a cell phone application that converts cell phone camera images of irises into a mathematical algorithm that can be used to identify individuals in health care settings. This program could be used to administer and track immunization programs in developing countries.

Early Child Health Intervention Using Breathing Sound

Insu Song, James Cook University Signapore (Singapore, Singapore)
May 1, 2011

Insu Song and Joachim Diederich of the James Cook University in Singapore propose a cell phone-based system for collecting and analyzing time location-tagged children's crying and breathing sounds to detect respiratory infections. This system provides treatment information for parents and generates public health data regarding the spread of infectious diseases.

Palm Vein Biometric Identification Prototype

Yaroslav Ryabov, BC Portal, Inc. (Rockville, Maryland, United States)
May 1, 2011

Yaroslav Ryabov and Denis Broydo of BC Portal, Inc. in the U.S. propose to develop cell phones as biometric identification devices which use the phone camera to take and analyze near-infrared images of hand palms. The unique vein patterns found in the palm can be used by health workers in remote areas to identify individuals and maintain health records for these underserved populations.

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View the Grand Challenges partnership network

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.