Cheap paper microscope

edited November 2016 in Everything else
Not sure if anyone here is interested but there is a Kickstarter going on right now for the Foldscope.

This is a waterproof paper microscope that is pretty cheap and works real good.  The project has almost doubled their goal in less than 24 hours so get in quick if you want to.

I got in the Beta testing of these microscopes and was impressed with how good something so simple could work.  I've made my pledge to get more of these devices.

This same idea can be completely homemade using a lens from an old cd/dvd drive or even a tiny ball of melted glass.  Here's a website I threw together before I got the official version.



  • Saw that myself, thought it looked interesting, but I'm a little curious if it's much better than a $40 microscope you could buy online. Any numbers on magnification? (Note, if it's on the page and I didn't see it, my fault. I didn't actually read the whole thing.)
  • Jupiter

    The normal lens included with the Foldscope is 140X.  They did have a higher power lens included with the Beta versions but I never got that one to work.  Looks like they are not including that lens with the new version.

    This microscope is probably not as good as a "toy" $40 one but it is very portable and connects to a cell phone camera with magnets.

    It was actually designed for school kids and third world areas where they would not normally have access to a microscope.  I think their actual cost is less than $1 each to produce.  I waited too long to get in the kickstarter so I missed the cheapest ones but, including shipping, the ones I ordered are still less than $2 each.

    Even cheaper would be to build your own.

    Just print out that picture on some card stock and find or build a lens.  I'll have to try to get some pictures to add to my website showing how to make a lens from broken glass.  Basically all it takes is to melt the corners of a couple scraps of glass and pull it into a thin thread.  Then, you just melt that thread and it will form a ball.  It usually takes a few tries to get one that works good but I was surprised that I could see tiny stuff swimming in a drop of water with such a simple, homemade tool.

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