DIY MICROSCOPE PROMOTES HEALTH
A paper-made microscope that’s practically free because it costs so little seems like a cheap toy. But it’s not. Called Foldscope, this amazingly real optical microscope with submicron resolution provides a magnification of up to 2100 times. It’s the creation of Stanford University’s Prakash Lab, headed by bioengineer Manu Prakash, who aims to democratize science education and develop useful tools for ordinary citizens. Prakash is an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur and MIT.
Think of Foldscope as a Do-It-Yourself microscope to promote global health. Described as a combination of optics, origami, and observation, it’s made by printing and folding a carefully designed, perforated sheet of paper that can be fitted with standard glass slides. To facilitate clinical work on tropical diseases like malaria and sleeping sickness, Prakash Lab did a round of Foldscope beta-testers. Over 10,000 people—dairy farmers, teachers, scientists, and hobbyists, among others—signed up to do single-page experiments using the microscope. The results will be made public and a crowd-sourced microscopy manual will be compiled.
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