Each of these small pieces of card is an origami-inspired microscope that could help save lives in the developing world. Created by researchers determined to put scientific tools in the hands of as many people as possible, the Foldscope is assembled in minutes from a sheet of pre-scored card and a few extra components including a lens, an LED and a button-sized battery. A mini-microscope costs just 50p and some can provide up to 2000x magnification – enough to see disease-causing parasites. They can also be made in different configurations for different purposes, including fluorescent microscopes capable of imaging specific proteins labeled with fluorescent dyes. The ultimate goal is twofold: to inspire children and to improve healthcare in the world’s poorest regions. To that end, researchers are now developing a series of disease-specific Foldscopes that will help healthcare workers diagnose particular illnesses.
Written by Daniel Cossins
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.