Microscope in One Dollar

The cheapest microscope made from paper.

Microscope in One Dollar
One Dollar One Dollar

Microscope in One Dollar


Stanford University's Manu Prakash created a fancy microscope, which costs only one dollar to make. Its name is Foldscope, which can make an object up to 2000 times larger.

When people infected with diseases, they met the doctor. But the visit fee of a doctor is very high according to the use of many high-cost machines to test our condition. The microscope is one of those. A microscope price is about $300 to $400, which is so expensive.

Manu thought about it. Then he was trying many times to make a microscope in cheaply in their lab called "Frugal science". From their lab, they invented the fancy microscope, which is only one dollar of cost, less than a doctor visit. The reason for its being so cheap - that the whole microscope made of paper except a lens and a source of light! And smaller size lenses have been made available cheaper lately. The cellphone camera is the best example. However, how the microscope made of paper? This is how we made it by folding paper - ducks or boats, floating in the water, making roses and giving surprises. Here is the same principle - origami. By folding the paper, they created a microscope so that the light on the slide would come to our eyes through the lens, and we would have excellent control over that light path.

When using, we will hold the microscope in front of the eye - just as the filter paper caught in front of the eye during the solar eclipse. The lens that is stuck in the structure has to focus on the front of the lens by pressing or releasing two thumbs' fingers. When focusing on a simple compound microscope, increasing or decreasing the distance between the lenses. Here we will focus on reducing the curvature of a single lens, its supporting structure. One more thing: lenses cannot hold the whole slide together by digging a long slide. But with the finger, we can move the lens and the light source along, without removing the slide, which is called panning. Diameter, with this microscope of this paper we can focus and pan as much as we want - and the smallest of the worlds at our fingertips! We can also use this scope as a projector to show pictures.


Making problem and solution

Technicians have had to put a lot of thought into making this straightforward concept a truly usable device. For example, let us say how to fold the paper and make this microscope structure. In computer software, his geometric picture or plan was created without any problem. But the original paper is no longer a purely geometric plane, except for its length and width, it has a small thickness. For this, the folds of paper can be a little further from the geometric outline of the plan. If that happens then, the alignment or layout of the lens and the light source will damage! It can be calculated that if the thickness of the paper is h, then the average amount of this alignment and the measure of the problem should be h. This can make a problem in the microscope itself. Then the way?

Engineers have dealt with such problems by designing beautiful machines before. To illustrate this, Manu Prakash and his team, according to the mathematical theory of machine design, inserted some folding combinations into the plan of Foldscope that prevented the alignment. A test was done to see if these engineering tactics worked. They made a 350-micrometre thick paper jug with foldscope, opened each fold and folded it twenty times. Each time the alignment shows to be rough - the amount of making problems is much less than the thickness of the paper. With such engineering intelligence, what stands out, in the end, does not do evil to the total. In this foldscope, it is easy to distinguish two dots of distance up to one micrometer. Another feature of Foldscope is that its original design can be adjusted to suit a variety of specialized tasks. And at a much lower cost.


This was an experimental work of the "Frugal science" lab. They succeeded in their work, but this product not available in the market. They hope this product can make easy the scientific work for those who have a budget problem.