If you could make something as important as a fairly precise microscope available to everyone from emerging countries, education and hobbyists for less than a dollar, wouldn’t you? Of course!

Stanford bio-engineer Manu Prakash and colleagues designed an innovative folding paper microscope to provide a cheap medical, education and hobbying. That’s right, I said paper! Printed on just one sheet by the thousands, it is folded and combined with a few components in less than 10 minutes to achieve full functionality.

“I wanted to make the best possible disease-detection instrument that we could almost distribute for free,” said Prakash. “What came out of this project is what we call use-and-throw microscopy. Depending on the lens, the scope can provide up to 2,000X magnification, enough to see the parasites that cause malaria and other diseases. An individual scope can be made in different configurations for different purposes. Using certain colored LEDs for example, turns it into a fluorescent microscope capable of visualizing specific proteins or other biomolecules labeled with fluorescent dyes.”

Truly amazing!


Folding Paper Microscope Costs Less Than $1 But Provides A 2,000x Magnification (video).