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Foldscope: A low cost microscope invented

A team of Scientists led by Manu Prakash from Stanford University developed an amazingly cheap microscope namely Foldscope.

Apr 15, 2014 18:46 IST
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A team of Scientists led by Manu Prakash from Stanford University developed an amazingly cheap microscope namely Foldscope (due to it folding design). The research was published in Stanford Daily, US in the first week of April 2014.  

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Composition of Foldscope

Foldscope is made up of paper and contains three parts as follows:
1. a slip of paper which acts as the slide on which the specimen is kept;
2. a slide for the ball-shaped lens;
3. a piece that contains an LED light. This light help in illuminating the subject under examination.

Mechanism
• The users need to place their eyebrow against the paper with their eye close to the lens to view the sample similar to traditional microscope.
• Thumbs of users will control Magnification and image panning. This process also includes sliding to view different parts of the image.
• To control magnification a simple flexing mechanism is used.
However, while testing multiple concerns were revealed about use of Foldscope. These concerns are:
• eye strain;
• ergonomics;
• Examination of potentially infectious samples very near to the human body.

To address these concerns, Researchers are now working on development of different type of microscopes. Future Foldscopes will be designed in such a way that each type of disease will have a correlating microscope which will be used exclusively for particular disease. Foldscope will minimize price and bypass the difficulty of optimization present in traditional multipurpose microscopes.

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