Glass Bead And 3-D Printer Make Cheap, Powerful Microscope

txchnologist:

by Txchnologist staff

Researchers working to transform bulky and expensive lab tools so they can be deployed far and wide cracked open their history books to put a cheap microscope in every pocket. 

Rebecca Erikson, an applied physicist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, takes a simple glass bead and embeds it in a housing she built on a 3-D printer that fits over a smartphone’s camera. The system, which costs less than a dollar in materials to produce, can magnify objects up to 1,000 times. She and PNNL have made the 3-D design file freely available for all to use

Erikson’s instrument slips onto a number of smartphones and tablets, and gives the power of microscopic sight to emergency responders needing to identify biological specimens in the field, teachers, students and anyone with access to a 3-D printer. 

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