Mobile Microscope Powered By Your Cell Phone

Sometimes it’s just not possible to bring a sample into the lab for investigating, so what is a researcher to do when they want to take a nice close look at something? Some researchers from Berkeley have created a rather interest contraption that connects to just about any cell phone, offering up to 60x magnification. That’s right, it’s a high-powered mobile microscope.

They have developed two microscopes for this purpose and the 60x one is the stronger of the two. The idea is that these add-ons can capture the detail of cancerous cells, malaria parasites, and other microscopic things that would not otherwise be visible to the naked eye. Perhaps the best application is for doctors making house calls in remote areas. The images captured by the smartphone can then be emailed directly to the lab for immediate analysis.

This, of course, assuming that the camera on your phone is of a reasonable resolution to begin with. Even so, the LED-self-illuminating module costs a reasonable $75 to build using off-the-shelf parts. Good work, docs. Good work. Initial test are scheduled for this summer in Uganda.


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