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Science Technology

Paper Microscope Magnifies Objects 2100 Times and Costs Less Than $1 89

ananyo writes: "If ever a technology were ripe for disruption, it is the microscope. Microscopes are expensive and need to be serviced and maintained. Unfortunately, one important use of them is in poor-world laboratories and clinics, for identifying pathogens, and such places often have small budgets and lack suitably trained technicians. Now Manu Prakash, a bioengineer at Stanford University, has designed a microscope made almost entirely of paper, which is so cheap that the question of servicing it goes out of the window. Individual Foldscopes are printed on A4 sheets of paper (ideally polymer-coated for durability). A pattern of perforations on the sheet marks out the 'scope's components, which are colour-coded in a way intended to assist the user in the task of assembly. The Foldscope's non-paper components, a poppy-seed-sized spherical lens made of borosilicate or corundum, a light-emitting diode (LED), a watch battery, a switch and some copper tape to complete the electrical circuit, are pressed into or bonded onto the paper. (The lenses are actually bits of abrasive grit intended to roll around in tumblers that smooth-off metal parts.) A high-resolution version of this costs less than a dollar, and offers a magnification of up to 2,100 times and a resolving power of less than a micron. A lower-spec version (up to 400x magnification) costs less than 60 cents."
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Paper Microscope Magnifies Objects 2100 Times and Costs Less Than $1

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  • Making a Difference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eastjesus ( 3182503 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @02:21PM (#46759339)
    Back around 1985 I worked with a teacher in a grade school with a lot of low income students creating a microscope that the kids could build and use out of trash quickly. We used a cardboard box that used to hold wooden matches and cut a flap in the wide sides so light could illuminate the inside and covered one end with aluminum foil. Other boxes could also be used but the slide made it easy to focus. A small hole was punched in the center of the foil. The object to be examined was placed inside on top of the part of the box that slid in and out (which was now exposed to light) and a drop of water put in the hole in the foil. It worked remarkably well and the kids had a great time with it looking at all sorts of things inside and outdoors but maybe the greatest thing was that the kids started thinking about how things worked and coming up with novel solutions rather than just buying something to do the job.
  • ...on a smartphone! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @02:36PM (#46759523)

    Great. Now, what I want you to do is make it origami onto the cameras everyone is toting around and connect it to an image recognition library / service. Blam. Instant bug detection. Not so sure about the diag? Snap the shot, post it online / send it off and have some pros ID the doodads. Also, video. Microscopic Vine Compilation Videos. I can hear the semen commentary now.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.