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Tiny lens turns your smartphone camera into a microscope

25
The tiny Micro Phone Lens attaches to your phone's camera lens. You focus by gently pressing on it with a microscope slide.

There is a large number of third party lens attachments for smartphones available. You can choose from fisheye, wide-angle, macro or tele lenses, or even attach an entire camera module. The Micro Phone Lens Kickstarter project is different though. It's a minuscule lens attachment made from a scratch-proof polymer that turns your smartphone or tablet into a microscope with a 150x magnification factor. 

The lens is adhesive, you simply stick it on and pull it off after use. The system works best when using a microscope slide. You focus by gently pressing on the slide until the image on your device's screen is in focus.

The Micro Phone Lens works on both the front and rear camera of any device that has at least a 5MP image size. The lens also has a diameter of only 6mm. The current prototype offers a resolution of approximately 2 Microns which will be improved to 1.5-1.6 Microns for the final production version.

If you want to back the project you can pre-order a Micro Phone Lens for $29 on the project's Kickstarter page. At this price the lens is a lot cheaper than dedicated microscopes with a comparable magnification which makes it ideal for home or school use. A portable and affordable microscope would also allow for scientific research in remote areas where access to scientific instruments are limited or non-existent. The video below provides more information about the project and the operation of the lens.

Source: Kickstarter


  

Comments

Total comments: 25
carloduro
By carloduro (3 months ago)

Have shifted from a "trad" phone to a smartphone since a few months.
Still waiting for an add-on that turns a smartphone into a comfortable phone...

0 upvotes
kwainoi
By kwainoi (3 months ago)

I remember something like this from Lifehacker in 2010.
http://lifehacker.com/5616044/turn-a-dvd-lens-into-a-cellphone-macro-lens-redux

0 upvotes
Alberto Tanikawa
By Alberto Tanikawa (3 months ago)

Neat!

0 upvotes
Ken Rimple
By Ken Rimple (3 months ago)

Sorry, editing police here - "There is a large number of third party lens attachments for smartphones available." -> "There ARE a large number of third party lens attachments for smartphones available."

2 upvotes
Rodelion
By Rodelion (3 months ago)

Sorry Ken, but your correction is actually an error. Take a look at this sentence:
"A large number of third party lens attachments for smartphones -is- available."
Here the subject is 'a large number'. Using 'there is/are' doesn't change the subject, and so the original sentence is correct: "There is [...]"

0 upvotes
mercsport
By mercsport (3 months ago)

Sorry Rodelion, I'm no grammarian, but your correction of Ken's handy observation just does not sound right at all for I, also, tripped up on that one in the original sentence of Lars Rehm's article. I hear it all the time now in modern parlance and am always given to wonder just how loose, or forgiving, grammar is these days. Perhaps only twenty years ago I might have very occasionally heard 'is' to preface a plurality, but it would pass as uttered by one who might not know better. In short, it just sounds plain moronic.
"There is a large number of tanks in Tahrir Square" I remember well. Even the BBC have correspondents who are prone to this modern malaise.
I try not to despair.
Excuse the OT aspect of this post.

0 upvotes
Ken Rimple
By Ken Rimple (3 weeks ago)

Heh this is a funny thread. My wife is an editor and I threw this by her - she suggested "there are numerous" - haha!

BTW Even better would be to move the verb up. "There are numerous/many third-party lens attachments available for smartphones."

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (3 months ago)

What's the effective NA of the lens which is what determines resolution? Really massive aberrations around the periphery of the lens. But still a nice idea that will only improve with time

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (3 months ago)

The molded polymer (scratchproof, how does THAT work, it's plastic!) lens is probably (at most) $3.00 in large quantities. Still, those who think of them first...

0 upvotes
_sem_
By _sem_ (3 months ago)

Actually a similar idea has been presented before using simple ball lenses, around 1mm in diameter, held in place by a piece of foam. Shown to be useful to determine blood type. Optics probably worse.

0 upvotes
badi
By badi (3 months ago)

http://www.diyphotography.net/build-10-smartphone-microscope-stand/#more-1816

0 upvotes
badi
By badi (3 months ago)

The link above shows a similar idea (DIY).
Has the advantage that you don't have to push the slide against the lens.
The kickstarter option has the advantage that you don't have to work ... but for a lot of people this could be the best part :).

0 upvotes
Sirandar
By Sirandar (3 months ago)

Might be a interesting product but 150X magnification is probably stretching it a bit. Looking at the web site the quality at 150x isn't bad, but not equivalent to a microscope.

Unfortunately bacteria require 1000X mag to visualize usefully.

Still a very interesting product .... I will probably put my 25$ in

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (3 months ago)

You can see bacteria (most of them) at 400x or so, their shape. You won't see any detail on them until you hit electron microscope territory. But, 150x will show lots of things well, even protozoa.

0 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (3 months ago)

Does it come in Apple bayonet mount?

http://connect.dpreview.com/post/7100428395/apple-patents-bayonet-mount-for-mobile-devices

1 upvote
silveragemarvel
By silveragemarvel (3 months ago)

I have been using microscopes since grade school and have a degree in biology. Microscopy is also a current hobby. I see this as an emerging technology and hopefully will advance further. There were no details provided about the resolution capability of the lens. Also pressing a slide against the lens can be an iffy and could eventually damage the slide. Just having magnification is not enough as increasing it only produces "empty magnification" without any increase in resolution.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (3 months ago)

For 30 bucks it might be worth the gamble.

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (3 months ago)

Be funny if someone tries a drop of water, with no cover slip! Dry specimens or mounted ones will work fine. Empty magnification won't be an issue at 150x, unless the lens is particularly poor. I'd be more worried about residual aberrations, especially chromatic. Maybe they can correct it in-phone, like some cameras?

0 upvotes
JamesD28
By JamesD28 (3 months ago)

2027: Just gonna get a few snapshots of some electrons with my IPhone 51GS.

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (3 months ago)

Next project: an endoscope

3 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (3 months ago)

Someone might have already done it. Smartphones seem to have the craziest add-on accesories available on market.

0 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (3 months ago)

Just googled smartphone endoscope and I found this- https://www.anthonyproducts.com/store/p-1113-clearsight-smartphone-adapter.aspx

2 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (3 months ago)

O god

1 upvote
JordanAT
By JordanAT (3 months ago)

This sound like a threat for those who insist on talking on phones on ling plane flights. Though, once shoved up there, actuating the shutter may be more difficult.

0 upvotes
esmu urdis
By esmu urdis (3 months ago)

Hey That's a really neat idea

2 upvotes
Total comments: 25
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