Penny Byrne's new work #BloodDiamond is a levitating 3D printed red blood cell which utilises augmented reality Hololens technology and infrared vision to detect malaria infected red blood cells. It is part of the Science Gallery Melbourne exhibition BLOOD: Attract and Repel.
#BloodDiamond is a collaborative work with scientists from Monash University Centre for Biospectroscopy. The work explores two new research techniques for detecting malaria: acoustic levitation and attenuated total reflection (ATR) sampling in conjunction with infrared spectroscopy. Acoustic levitation uses sound waves to levitate a singla drop of blood and ATR uses a diamond to reflect an infrared beam of light through a blood sample to detect malaria parisites.
A large 3D printed red blood cell levitates and glows as the visitor enters the room. This is a healthy blood cell. Using an infrared camera and an augmented reality Hololens headset, Plasmodium infected blood cells can be detected within the space, each identifiable by distinctive changes in cell morphology.