This 50-Cent Paper Microscope Could ‘Democratize Science’
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
A couple of months ago, I received an interesting package in the mail. It looked like a standard manila envelope, but inside was a device that could quite possibly revolutionize the way we view the microscopic world. I'm referring to the Foldscope, an origami-based optical microscope that is small enough to fit inside your pocket. The real kicker: the entire cost of the instrument is less than one dollar.
The Foldscope has received some recent and well-deserved media attention (the lab's publication on this device recently made it in the top 20 papers in PLOS One for 2014) but I hadn't seen many videos on the Foldscope being put to the test in the field. It seemed like there was a lot of potential for this invention, but I wondered how it would fare on one of my expeditions through a jungle searching for unknown species. So I decided to assemble my miniature paper microscopes and travel to one of the most remote places in the world, the rainforest of the Peruvian Amazon, to give them a go.