One of the newest additions to the phone camera accessories allows you to inspect the microscopic world with no lab required. The researchers from the University of Adelaide and from RMIT University managed to create a clip-on filter which can turn a phone camera into a microscope.
Furthermore, the developers are making the design freely available and open-source. Therefore, all you need in order to own one is having access to a 3D printer. This device allows you to inspect specimens as small as 1/200th of a millimeter. The items you can view include blood cells, cell nuclei, plant and animal cells, and others as well.
Besides allowing you to take a peek at microbes, this technology is certainly a game-changer for field diagnostics as well as medical treatments in remote regions. This mobile microscope is a cheap and portable tool for all kinds of on-site and remote area monitoring.
In order to create this tool, the developers took into consideration two issues that limit the use of the existing mobile phone microscopes. In an ideal situation, a phone microscope should benefit from the integrated flash which comes with almost every model, eliminating the need to use external lighting and power.
Also, it should be as easy to assemble and as compact as possible. This idea is the basis of the add-on clip design of the new tool. According to the developers, the clip-on is similar to modern optical microscope designs. It has a lens that is fitted into a notch on the clip which plays the role of an objective lens.
At the same time, the phone camera lens plays the role of the tube lens. Many mobile phones have small pixel size cameras. This means that even a very small amount of magnification could result in microscopic resolution. In terms of light, the developing team managed to find a design that does not require an external source.
Instead, it relies on the phone’s built-in light. This is a significant difference between this device and the others that were already available on the market. They wanted to create a straightforward mobile phone microscope that could also take advantage of the integrated light which is available in most smartphone cameras.
Other phone microscopes use external sources of light, and it is a shame not to use a source that is already available on the phone.
Using the phone built-in light is possible due to the illumination tunnels which guide the light from the camera flash to lighten the sample from behind. This device was designed with dual darkfield and brightfield microscopy capacities.
In other words, it can display specimens on either a dark or a light background, depending on the type of visibility that is required. Having both these capabilities in such a tiny device is extremely helpful because it increases the range of activity. Being able to use the camera’s own light also makes the design of the clip-on device more portable as well as easy to use.
The models that require external power sources and LEDs are very complex systems, and they are difficult to assemble and bulkier. This one requires one simple assembly step and does not require any additional light sources. This also reduces the complexity and the cost of assembly, making it possible to sell it for a very affordable price for anyone to be able to enjoy it.
Mobile phone imaging technologies have made huge steps in the past years. This makes it a very attractive option for use in regions where you might not have access to standard equipment. This compact and extremely easy-to-use device can be also used to improve healthcare as well as diagnostics in remote areas and in developing countries also.
Since not everyone can afford a traditional microscope which cannot be used in the field, phone microscopes can help a lot in these perspectives.
If you are looking for such a device and wondering how to find a good one, then you should know that this is not an issue because the internet has you covered with all the necessary information you might require.