How to Turn Your Android Smartphone Into a Microscope With The Microphone Lens

microphone lens

I don’t know about you, but I think that turning your Android running smartphone into a microscope is the coolest idea ever and now it can become reality, thanks to the Microphone Lens.

I love to take macro pictures of insects and stuff, especially with a nice auto-focus camera (I always use my smartphone, I never owned a dedicated camera), and check out the fine details; the possibility of taking snapshots of viruses and bacterias is mind blowing, don’t you think?

Now, even if you don’t have a microscope, you can build yourself one, easy as pie. All you need is a smartphone and a “Microphone Lens” and voila!, your droid will turn into a portable, handheld microscope. You may ask, what the heck is a Microphone Lens, let me show you a picture of the device :

microphone lens

Basically, turning your droid into a microscope can be achieved by attaching a lightweight (less than half a pound) and not very expensive device to your smartphone, on the back panel. At least that’s what the researchers from the University of California are claiming, and that device will convert your droid into a sensitive fluorescence microscope.

This is the Microphone Lens, and it will allow you to take snapshots of a single cell or a virus, not to mention the endless possibilities of using it in healthcare in poor countries.

The first experiment with the Microphone Lens used a Nokia 808 PureView, the coolest smartphone ever in my humble opinion, due to its monstrous 41 Megapixels sensor and exceptional image quality of its camera. With a little help from the Microphone Lens, the phone was able to take fluorescent images of individual viruses and nano-particles. The Microphone Lens components  were 3D-printed and the device used a laser bought from eBay, a color filter and an external lens.

As you can see from the diagram, it’s not rocket science, but it may inspire a new generation of scientists.

The Microphone Lens project was sponsored by Nokia University, the Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation and many others.




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