Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine

Stanford Bioengineer Develops a 50-cent Paper Microscope 83

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the check-out-those-microbes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scope: A Stanford bioengineer has developed an ultra-low-cost print-and-fold microscope and is now showing others how to make one themselves. The 50-cent lightweight, paper 'Foldscope' — which 'can be assembled in minutes, [and] includes no mechanical moving parts' — was designed to aid disease diagnosis in developing regions." The paper describing the design is on arXiv, and a video demoing the microscope is attached below.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Stanford Bioengineer Develops a 50-cent Paper Microscope

Comments Filter:
  • by canadiannomad (1745008) on Monday March 10, 2014 @07:50PM (#46450945) Homepage

    Also a recent TED talk on the topic [ted.com]

  • by Rhymoid (3568547) on Monday March 10, 2014 @07:51PM (#46450951)
    FTA:

    The Foldscope design accommodates different optical configurations, including spherical ball lenses, spherical micro-lens doublets (such as a Wollaston doublet), and more complex assemblies of aspheric micro-lenses.

  • by The Cat (19816) on Monday March 10, 2014 @07:58PM (#46450987)

    1. It will never work.
    2. Big fuckin deal. Made one myself over breakfast last week.
    3. Biology is a worthless major.
    4. At least 68 replies starting with the word "Actually"
    5. This is proof there's no God.
    6. Shut up teabagger
    7. Fuck beta
    8. I'm competing to be the world's biggest talking penis
    9. Four PhDs? No wonder you're a dumbfuck
    10. Someone dropped a bulldozer on your car? The problem is you.

  • This is very cool.
    The magic and complexity seems to be all in the optic path; if they're forming a carrier tape with a special cavity to carry the lens, maybe they should focus (ha!) on also putting the LED on that carrier and controlling the dimensions of that small piece such it it can be held directly against a slide and remove the need for laser-cut paper and controlling the focal distance during folding and assembly of the paper. Then a reel of the optical "guts" could be produced and shipped.

    But then

    • But then again, I could just be a random stranger on the Internet talking out of my ass.

      You know who else talked out of his ass? Ace Ventura, pet detective.

  • Where/how does one get the lenses ? The video looked like an ad .
    • by pz (113803) on Monday March 10, 2014 @08:46PM (#46451305) Journal

      If you read the article (I know, I know) you'll learn that he uses industrial grit, also known as glass beads, which are tiny bits of glass that are reasonably spherical and ridiculously cheap. The quoted lens cost in the article is $0.17, but unless I'm misunderstanding something, like how special the grit is that he's using, or what kind of secondary selection process is required to pick out beads that will make good lenses, that should be closer to 0.17 cents, not 0.17 dollars.

      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        If you read the article (I know, I know) you'll learn that he uses industrial grit

        I think the questions on every Slashdotter's mind now are:

        1. Are the grits hot?
        2. Can I pour them down my pants?
        3. Where is Natalie Portman when you need her?
      • by pz (113803)

        Feh. So the news article says he's using industrial grit. The presumably more authoritative arXiv paper states

        Ball Lenses.
        The ball lenses used in constructing Foldscopes included material types borosilicate, BK7 borosilicate, sapphire, ruby, and S-LAH79. The vendors included Swiss Jewel Co, Edmund Optics, and Winsted Precision Ball. Part numbers for some select lenses include: 300m sapphire lens from Swiss Jewel Co. (Model B0.30S), 200m sapphire lenses from Swiss Jewel Co. (Model B0.20S), 2.4mm borosilicate lenses from Winsted Precision Ball (P/N 3200940F1ZZ00A0), 300m BK7 borosilicate lenses from Swiss Jewel Co. (Model BK7-0.30S), and 1.0mm BK7 borosilicate lenses from Swiss Jewel Co. (Model BK7-1.00). Note that half-ball lenses from both Edmund Optics and Swiss Jewel Co. were also tested for use as condenser lenses for the LEDs.

        So they aren't exactly industrial grit, but very tiny lenses that look like they were originally intended for the telecommunications industry. The question of how does one get these lenses is answered by, "pick up the phone and call one of the listed suppliers who specialize in micro-spheres of clear, hard stuff."

  • by steveha (103154) on Monday March 10, 2014 @08:47PM (#46451311) Homepage

    They have a website devoted to this:

    http://www.foldscope.com/ [foldscope.com]

    And the news on the web site is that they will give away 10,000 of these to people who volunteer to test them. If you think you could do a good job of testing, maybe you should sign up.

    http://www.foldscope.com/#/10ksignup/ [foldscope.com]

    To me, the most impressive part is that he claims they have very accurate focusing. I believe he said "micron" focusing. I'm not sure how that works, but the paper is cut to a very accurate shape (the video showed some sort of computer-controlled cutter, it might even have been a laser cutter). By moving a tab I guess the paper can be made to flex predictably to focus the lens?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      To me, the most impressive part is that he claims they have very accurate focusing. I believe he said "micron" focusing. I'm not sure how that works, but the paper is cut to a very accurate shape (the video showed some sort of computer-controlled cutter, it might even have been a laser cutter).

      The device being used to "draw" the lines *and* cut the paper in the video is an Epilog laser engraver [epiloglaser.com]. Hint: Not cheap (5-digit USD range).

      • If all you're going to do is cut paper, then a simple home-made laser cutter made from old inkjet printers and fitted with a Blu-ray diode would be more than enough.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        If you're making high-five-digit numbers of these microscopes - and the test run itself is into that range - that only raises the cost from $0.50 to $1.50.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        To me, the most impressive part is that he claims they have very accurate focusing. I believe he said "micron" focusing. I'm not sure how that works, but the paper is cut to a very accurate shape (the video showed some sort of computer-controlled cutter, it might even have been a laser cutter).

        The device being used to "draw" the lines *and* cut the paper in the video is an Epilog laser engraver. Hint: Not cheap (5-digit USD range).

        If you're making high-five-digit numbers of these microscopes - and the test

        • Why use fancy laser cutters and such when the technology and means to mass produce them cheaply already exists?

          Because things need to be incredibly precise. I asked the same question initially, but there is no way I could ever cut the pieces out precisely enough to be usable, even with a precision knife (Exacto, etc)

    • Take this technology and make 50 cent eyeglasses for children in third world countries.

      This idea is on to something!
      • by jfengel (409917)

        Step 2 would have to be "flood the world with extra light", because a pinhole camera does a great job of focusing but doesn't bring in a lot of light.

        That said... pinhole eyeglasses [wikipedia.org] are a real thing. They're mostly quackery, aimed at reducing the amount of light from a computer display screen and supposedly "strengthening the eye", but that's rubbish.

    • by mattr (78516)

      800 NANOMETER resolution due to
      fascinating optics holding a glass
      sphere up to your eye can obtain
      2000x magnification! Woohoo!
      Check out the website and arxiv pdf.
      He uses origami techniques to
      structurally engineer the paper to
      compensate for buckling among other things.
      Awesomeness!

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday March 10, 2014 @08:51PM (#46451345) Homepage

    This is EXTREMELY cool. But it seems to me they might have given a tip of the hat to Antony van Leeuwenhoek, who developed spherical glass microscope lenses in the late 1600s. Well, I see their paper does: "Although the use of high-curvature miniature lenses traces back to Antony van Leeuwenhoek's seminal discovery of microbial life forms (8), manufacturing micro-lenses in bulk was not possible until recently."

  • by slincolne (1111555) on Monday March 10, 2014 @09:27PM (#46451533)
    The developing world chant always gets sympathy, but what about the potential benefit in schools ?

    I can remember in school the problem getting accessed (more students than microscopes) and with these schools could give them to students.

    Not only are they useful in class, but potentially they might get students interested in looking a the wider world!

    It would also potentially drive someone to mass market them - laser cut them in school and fix in the lense (or worst case outsource the manufacturing to China)

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      we did in the 70s, we made lenses out of glass rods melted to have bead with "thread" for mounting. and doesn't have the hassle of needing to put industrial grit into a tumbler to make polished spheres like this article's

      I swear, I'm old enough to see shit get re-invented again and again, a little bit worse each iteration

      • Same goes for clothes, music, movies, TV shows, videogames.

        I can't wait to play BurgerTime 2014: Revenge of the Pickles for the Playstation 5.

    • by esten (1024885) on Monday March 10, 2014 @10:44PM (#46451973)

      but what about the potential benefit in schools ?

      The kids do love them. And can assemble them by themselves.

      I'm a Stanford PhD student and for an outreach organization Science Bus we actually worked with 2-5th graders locally to each build their own microscope to keep. The Foldscope works well and actually found the projection ability great in the classroom so that multiple students can see the same thing at once.

    • by mattr (78516)

      If you woild read the site before
      commenting you would see schools
      are also targeted.
      Of course it is mote important to
      save lives though wouldn't you agree?

  • That was one of the least satisfying technical videos I have seen lately. And tie your shoes, man.
  • merits an engineering prize.
  • “I wanted to make the best possible disease-detection instrument that we could almost distribute for free,”

    And without any doubt.
    Unless "3rd world" countries spend 50 cents to create a new one each time, those diseases will be distributed for free.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I'm picturing you just waving your arms at your keyboard and slurring "cyniiicisssssm" here. You did actually read the article, yes? Oh, I can answer that: no, you didn't.

      • I'm picturing you just waving your arms at your keyboard and slurring "cyniiicisssssm" here. You did actually read the article, yes? Oh, I can answer that: no, you didn't.

        cost = 50 cents
        item = paper
        Final Product = non-reusable
        3rd world countries will be forced to reuse item = diseases transferred on paper

        You dont even need to read the article to suss that out, its basic logic.

  • If the point is to look for pathogens in other peoples fluids...

    well, I'm not real excited about holding the thing mm from my eye :)

    (somehow having a giant metal/glass column as a buffer seems less creepy)

  • using mirrors and lenses from disposable cameras:

    http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... [thingiverse.com]

  • Step 1: get a baseball bat
    Step 2: wrap it with paper

  • by Verdatum (1257828) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @03:09PM (#46456789)
    I had to do far too much wandering about to find a simple image of the thing as it is to be used. Hope this helps someone: http://imgur.com/RzvY6nf [imgur.com]

10 to the 12th power microphones = 1 Megaphone

Working...