A clip printed on a 3D printer turns a smartphone into a microscope

By: Bohdan Chub | 20.02.2018, 22:40
A clip printed on a 3D printer turns a smartphone into a microscope

Australian scientists have found an easy way to make a high-grade microscope from a smartphone. The device in the form of a clip allows you to observe objects up to 1/200 millimeter in size.

How it works?


Researchers decided not to spend money and created the simplest design, which uses its own flash smartphone. Through the light channel, the rays are redirected to the sample under study, increasing the brightness of the image. The overlay is printed on a 3D printer, and a lens is inserted into the special hole. The authors of the project just bought an online camera module for the iPhone 5s for $ 12 and got out the optics. If you deal with mass supplies, it's realistic to order only lenses at a more affordable price.


The resulting system is fixed on the smartphone. Using a microscope, you can check the purity of water, conduct blood tests for parasites and diagnose certain diseases. For normal experiments with plants, the device is also suitable. In the above example, lily flower cells are shown.

Available to everyone

The simplest device can be assembled by anyone, since all CAD files are in the public domain. Since the model was created for the iPhone 6s, it may be necessary to slightly modify it for your device.

This is not the first such project. Italian SmartMicroOptics since 2016 produces inexpensive sets of lens-stickers Blips (from 16 euros for two pieces), but there the result depends on the external lighting. Similarly, a paper microscope Foldscope (from $ 3.5 in large orders for schools) works:

Sources: Scientific Reports (reference to CAD-models under the article), Engadget