Researchers turn Smartphone into microscope

Shihab Uddin Ahmed | May 10, 2015

smartphone_microscopeYes, researchers have made a special lens which turns your Smartphone into a microscope. It’s not a toy microscope, even health professionals will find it useful, researchers say. The research paper is published on journal of Biomedical Optics recently.

Most importantly, this lens costs only 1 cent. So a Smartphone & a one cent lens give you a microscope.

Wei-Chuan Shih assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston and his three graduate students have made very thin and flexible lens from a polymer called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). This polymer with the consistency of honey was dropped precisely on a surface. That surface was preheated and curvature of the lens depends on temperature and duration of heating.

They have successfully made polymer lens which can magnify images up to 120 times and don’t worry you can use your phone normally as well because this polymer easily adhere to your phone camera and you can detach the lens without damaging your phone camera and the polymer lens. Lens shouldn’t be a concern, it’s only one cent lens, and you can easily buy another, if it is lost.

Wei-Chuan Shih says his Nokia Lumia 520 phone works perfectly as a microscope. The only thing he added to his $20 phone is a one cent lens. Actually one cent is the cost of material. This lens may cost around three cent in bulk production. But a research quality microscope would cost $10,000.

A research quality microscope has some other facilities. But this Smartphone microscope is not bad. Students can use it and even health workers in remote areas can use the microscope. You can take microscopic image and then email it from your phone; it’s not an ordinary opportunity!

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