Hacking the Microscopic World

Smartphone microscope screensWhat if you could explore the microscopic world around you with your phone?

Researchers around the world have developed inexpensive lenses that can change any smartphone into a powerful scanning microscope.

This technology could revolutionize medicine in places without proper medical resources, but it will also give amateur scientists powerful new ways to explore and manipulate the world around them.

Our powerful smartphones can help us do way more than just play video games or send texts.

At the University of Houston, researchers have built a powerful microscope by attaching an inexpensive lens to a smartphone. Check it out:

“the resulting microscope came from “a $20 phone and a 1 cent lens.” That 1 cent covers the cost of the material; he and Shih estimate that it will cost about 3 cents to manufacture the lenses in bulk. A conventional, research quality microscope, by comparison, can cost $10,000.”

At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), scientist created a special rig for smartphones that can create “an advanced fluorescence microscope” capable of examining microscopic structures.

You can see the set-up in the image above, and here’s more about the revolutionary smartphone DNA scanner:

“The mobile microscopy unit is an inexpensive, 3-D-printed optical device that uses the phone’s camera to visualize and measure the length of single-molecule DNA strands. The device includes an attachment that creates a high-contrast, dark-field imaging set-up using an inexpensive external lens, thin-film interference filters, a miniature dovetail stage and a laser diode that excites the fluorescently labeled DNA molecules.”


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