Technology Review: Malaria is a widespread but easy-to-treat disease. However, its detection currently requires expensive microscopes and training. A new technique undergoing trials may be able to lower the cost of the equipment. A team led by Adam Butykai from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary is focusing on one of the byproducts of the parasites that cause malaria. Hemozoin is an iron-rich cylindrical crystal produced when the parasites break down hemoglobin. By putting blood, serum, or plasma samples from an infected individual into a rotating magnetic field, Butykai’s team discovered that the crystals aligned in ways that give the samples distinct optical properties. Because specific frequencies of polarized light travel very easily through the samples, the method is sensitive enough to detect infections at very low concentrations of the parasites. If the cost of the equipment to create the necessary magnetic field can be reduced, it is possible that a simple device could be created for use in developing nations where malaria is pervasive.