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Monday, October 10, 2011

A 350x Microscope Lens for iPhone Costs Under $50

We have long heard and seen how smartphones and tablets can be used for medical purposes. However, the new things people can do to make the medical field more accessible to people are amazing.

A team of researchers at University of California Davis, through a study provided by the National Science Foundation, has developed a 350x microscope lens for the iPhone, enabling users to magnify stuff without having to place them in a glass slide. This micro lens for iPhone could make for interesting photos as well, which users can post on their online albums.

The project makes use of a 1mm ball lens that is attached to the outside of the iPhone lens with a rubber sheet and some tape. Although this tiny lens technically can only offer 5x magnification, it creates a tiny in-focus area that can resolve details as small as 1.5 microns. The field of view is so small and there is an issue of image distortion, but combining the in-focus areas of several pictures produces a clear image that would identify cell types or even spectroscopic readings.

While the images produced are not high in quality compared to those from traditional microscopes, those high-quality microscopes are not mobile, not to mention the price difference. The developers announce that the iPhone microscope lens can be sold for under $50.

Source: Plosone.org, via TechCrunch

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