Manu Prakash was working as a bioengineering faculty at the Stanford University with his research partner Jim Cybulski, a PhD student, at the Prakash laboratory. Whenever they made field trips across the world they noticed that most of them had broken microscopes that were completely out of use and difficult to repair. These broken pieces took most of the space without yielding any significant results. This inspired them to bring up with a new kind of microscope that can are light in weight and simple in usage. All these requirements and inspirations resulted in development of Foldscope, an origami paper microscope.
The Foldscope project has been in motion from last five-six years in various forms; however, the team is now running a Kickstarter campaign for launch of these microscopes on a mass scale. Their main aim is to send over one million Foldscope all across the globe by end of next year. Till date, they have fifty thousand Foldscopes all over the planet and plan to hit one million targets in coming years. They plan to use a combination of educators and users who wish to make purchase for themselves as well as other citizens who wish to make donations to developing nations.
Foldscope is a 180 x 180 X 5 millimeters dimensionally whenever they are folded, total weight of this instrument goes to 8 grams. It is instilled with a borosilicate glass micro-lens along with an embedded aperture that has 140 x magnifications along with 2 micron resolution. To see through the scope you just need to look into it directly or with a cell phone camera or through projection over a larger surface. The scopes have been designed to be tear proof, waterproof, with a larger endurance. The campaign also permits the citizen scientists to purchase a larger kit that will permit the users to collect, separate, make, as well as mount samples in the field. The team likes to call this as ‘a pencil box for science’. It is one of the most brilliant projects that will grant engineers with a priceless tool for the fields.
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