Vasu The 3D Printed Smartcase for malaria diagnosis

04 Jun

Vasu The 3D Printed Smartcase for malaria diagnosis

‘Vasu’ is a smartphone case meant for doctors in rural India to diagnose malaria in the blood of patients. The device is a combination of a smartphone app and a case and is able to distinguish two types of malaria, namely Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum.

3D Printed Smartcase

Vasu, meaning bright in Hindu, is the first cheap and portable quantitative malaria test capable of detecting multiply species. Vasu makes use of new innovations in the field of microscopy, microfluidics and biochemistry.

There are various different kinds of covers and cases availbale for almost all smartphones in the market, some help on battery backup, some on payments, notifications etc, but the most innovative was presented at the Luxexcel Innovative Application Awards, of Dutch optics 3D printing specialists Luxexcel, proved no different. Industrial design student Leroy Huikeshoven was among the competition’s winners for his Vasu malaria test, a 3D printed smartphone case which uses microfluidic principles and an app to diagnose malaria in the blood of patients.

The case works with a disposable chip. This chip collects the blood, mixes the blood with antigen and holds it for analysis. The smartphone case holds the chip in place and guides light from the flashlight of the smartphone through the chip with blood and back to the camera. The smartphone then analyses the picture with a specialized smartphone app. The app informs the doctor about the proper amount of drugs, the patient will need. The user is asked to turn the chip around for a second analysis. In this way Vasu could detect two different types of Malaria parasites.

Vasu is developed for Luxexcel, a company with 3D-Printed Optics. Luxexcel is able to 3D-print highly accurate, smooth and transparent products. The chip and the lenses in Vasu are rapidly and cheaply developed with the technology of Luxexcel.

3D Printed Smartcase

India suffers heavily from Malaria infections. Moreover, parasites causing Malaria are getting resistant for the drugs used to fight them. It is getting harder and harder to fight off the parasites. As such, delicate drugs submitting is needed. Too much drugs will harm the patient, and submitting too little will result in survival of the stronger parasites and increasing resistance.

‘Cost–benefit analysis suggests that each Rupee invested by the National Malaria Control Program pays a rich dividend of 19.7 Rupees.’ So, each penny spend will result in economic and welfare growth in

3D Printed Smartcase?

Currently, accurate malaria diagnoses is done by sending blood sample to a laboratory for testing. This method will give result in a few days.

Current quick and pocket-sized tests are only able to tell if someone has Malaria and few could tell which species of the parasite it is. But there are no cheap and pocket-sized test that could tell how severe the disease is developed and which species has infected the patient, which is needed to submitted drugs accurately – hence, quantitatively.


Vasu is the first cheap and pocket-sized quantitative malaria test.  The current Vasu is made for a Huawei Ascend P6, 2013, the casing is made specifically for a smartphone made. The casing is made from Polypropylene and the chip is made from Poly (methyl methacrylate).

Benefits of Vasu

  • On the spot diagnostics: blood samples don’t have to be send over to a laboratory anymore
  • Instant results: Vasu needs only a couple minutes to get result instead of waiting days to hear back from the laboratory
  • Big Data collection: Vasu, in combination with the smartphone and app, will allow for collection of data of malaria infections increasing insight on Malaria infections.

Benefits of Luxexcel

  • Rapid prototyping: Microfluidic devices have to be tested and tested again, 3D-printing would be hugely beneficial to this process.
  • Knowledge on optic: LUXeXceL has made name in optics and optic are heavily used in microfluidic devices, namely optofluidics.
  • Service on Demand: Microfluidic devices are usually order in small batches and in a short time space. LUXeXceL will be able to deliver product fast and cheaply.


Image Source: MAP

Chris Joel (Author)

Vasu The 3D Printed Smartcase for malaria diagnosis
Chris Joel is a writer at 3D Printers Online Store. Hailing from South London, he has a degree in English Literature. His interests include the application of 3D printing technology to art and its popularization.