South Africa Scientist, Engineer Pioneer Tech in TB Research
A simple tag pioneered in South Africa could soon be used to curb the spread of tuberculosis in Africa.
In efforts to better understand how the disease is spread, IBM engineer Toby Kurien and research scientist Darlington Mapiye have developed the concept of a tracking device which measures the proximity of TB patients. “We had to look at what we could do to collect data about patients and how we can track infection,” Kurien said. “The solution was to create a cheap sensor that could track when someone who has the disease comes into contact with a person who is not infected,” he added. The device was developed in the Maker Lab at IBM’s second Research Lab in Africa which is situated at the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Mapiye said that there was a stigma attached to people who had TB and that the device was developed to destigmatise the disease as well as further understand what kind of treatment patients needed.