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Scientists Release a How-To For Building a Smartphone Microscope

By ­niversity of Houston News

November 30, 2017

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Researchers at the University of Houston (UH) have released an open source dataset offering instructions to anyone interested in building their own smartphone microscope.

They have demonstrated that a basic smartphone equipped with an inexpensive inkjet-printed elastomer lens can be converted into a microscope that performs fluorescence microscopy.

"All the pieces can be made with a [three-dimensional] printer," says University of Houston professor Wei-Chuan Shih. "It's not something that belongs just to the lab."

The researchers are still working on improving the technology, and they recently engineered a platform, made of low-cost cost parts including LEGO bricks and plastic imaging components, to ensure high-throughput quality inspection of the inkjet-printed lenses.

Conventional tabletop microscopes shine light through the sample from above, but the new UH technology launches the light from the side of the slide, a process that Shih notes is both less expensive and less complicated to operate.

From University of Houston News
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