Make Your Own Smartphone Microscope For a Dollar…

By: | December 19th, 2014

The US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has developed a new phone attachment capable of turning your phone into a microscope.

You can easily convert your smartphone into a sensitive fluorescence microscope by attaching a lightweight, inexpensive device to the back of the phone.

The device consists of a 3D-printed plastic clip with a small glass sphere. These spheres are normally used in reflective airport runway markings and can purchased online at the price of about one cent each. The cost of a single sphere along with the required plastic clip is less than a dollar.

The product is sleek, simple and easily aligns with the phone’s camera lens, capable of magnifying objects by 1,000x (enough for seeing items such as anthrax spores). For applications where lower magnifications are preferable, the lab has also produced 350x (enough for taking images of parasites in blood samples or microbes in water) and 100x versions (suitable for classroom purposes).

This device can be used in human and veterinary medicine in developing countries and can even be useful for kids studying science.

The extremely low cost makes this device very practical and because the microscope is so cheap, it can simply be discarded after being used.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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