This Paper Microscope Costs Just 97 Cents #makereducation
Foldscope, a $.97 paper microscope, is a great tool for educators on a budget, from Smithsonianmag:
Microscopes have come a long way since eyeglass makers started using their lenses to look closer and closer at the world around them. But they’ve also gotten a lot more expensive. A modern scanning electron microscope could cost a lab $250,000. A nice desktop scope will set you back anywhere from $500 to $1,000—not a practical purchase, and sometimes out of the budget for clinics and research projects that could really use one.
What would an affordable microscope look like? Well, it’d be simple, and it’d be made out of cheap materials, but it would still be good enough to get the job done. It might look something like a microscope made out of paper, for less than a dollar.
Stanford scientists have developed what they call the Foldscope, a paper microscope that fits in your pocket and can be assembled in the field, in a lab, or anywhere you are. You can watch creator Manu Prakash talking about and assembling the scope in the video above. And it works too. According to Foldscope:
Foldscope is an origami-based print-and-fold optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper. Although it costs less than a dollar in parts, it can provide over 2,000X magnification with sub-micron resolution (800nm), weighs less than two nickels (8.8 g), is small enough to fit in a pocket (70 × 20 × 2 mm3), requires no external power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-story building or stepped on by a person. Its minimalistic, scalable design is inherently application-specific instead of general-purpose, gearing towards applications in global health, field based citizen science and K12-science education.
Foldscope is also currently looking for people to help them test out their origami contraption:
We will be choosing 10,000 people who would like to test the microscopes in a variety of settings and help us generate an open source biology/microscopy field manual written by people from all walks of life.
From clinics in Nigeria to field sites in that Amazon, the scope could give people a cheaper, easier way to access the tiny worlds around them.
Each Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.