What if your kids could print out their own microscope and carry it around in their back pockets? What if doctors in developing nations had access to simple, inexpensive microscopes that they could use to instantly and efficiently diagnose diseases? What if both of those innovations were the same thing?
Nice find by Ravi Apte:
Perhaps you’ve punched out a paper doll or folded an origami swan? TED Fellow Manu Prakash and his team have created a microscope made of paper that's just as easy to fold and use. A sparkling demo that shows how this invention could revolutionize healthcare in developing countries … and turn almost anything into a fun, hands-on science experiment.Wired:
A new microscope can be printed on a flat piece of paper and assembled with a few extra components in less than 10 minutes. All the parts to make it cost less than a dollar, according to Stanford bioengineer Manu Prakash and colleagues, who describe their origami optics this week in a paper published on arxiv.org.
The goal, as Prakash explains in a TED talk posted today, is to provide a cheap medical screening tool that could be widely used in the developing world. Because the microscopes can be printed by the thousands, they could also be used for education and field research.
An outline of the parts that make up the body of the microscope can be printed on card stock and then punched out. The additional parts include a lens, an LED for illumination and a button battery like the ones used to power a digital watch.
The principles of origami allow all the optical parts to line up properly when the scope is folded together