I’ll Take Two: Foldable Paper Microscope

foldscopeStanford bioengineering professor Manu Prakash, PhD and his team recently released a new tool for the use in disease diagnoses and hopeful eradication.

Foldscope is remarkably durable, waterproof and adaptable, weighs just under 9 grams, can be built in minutes, requires no external power and, since it travels as a flat, printed sheet, takes up very little space. It has the potential to be a game-changing tool in the world of medicine and microscopy.

The key to the design’s success is the unique spherical lenses rather than the precision-ground curved glass lenses commonly found in traditional microscopes. The micro-lens is press-fit into a small hole in the center of the slide-mounting platform.

The clincher is that a Foldscope costs about 50 cents. So That brings the price low enough to help virtually everybody. That also means public high schools will no longer be purchasing real microscopes so lets watch as another industry crumbles after the loss of their largest customer.

Hit the jump for Stanford bioengineering professor Manu Prakash’s TED talk.