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"Malaria Monitor" wristwatch

Evan Blass

We have more than a few friends that fell under the spell of the Dark Continent and have spent considerable portions of their adult lives living and working in Africa. Since our friends are of the vain type and think that the harsh African sun makes for perfect year-round tanning, several of them refuse to take the anti-malarial medication which keeps skin pigmentation from darkening. Not surprisingly, one of our vainer friends has already contracted malaria three times, so when she recovers from the latest bout we are going to try and save her from future suffering by rushing her one of inventor Gervan Lubbe's "Malaria Monitor" wristwatches. This clever device pricks the user's wrist four times-a-day and analyzes his/her blood for traces of malaria, flashing a brightly-colored mosquito when parasite levels exceed a certain threshold. Apparently the Malaria Monitor can detect an infection before symptoms manifest themselves, making the disease much easier to treat and saving the patient as much as six months of bed rest (interspersed by frequent trips to the toilet or hole in the ground). Lubbe claims that several African governments as well as the World Health Organization and some mining companies have expressed interest in the $280 device, with the latter group able to set up scanners that would detect each worker's watch-reported malarial status as he/she emerged from the mine.

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