Peering into the abysmally small doesn’t always require fancy equipment. Or at the very least, it doesn’t seem to require expensive equipment since the Foldscope pictured above costs less than a dollar to make and can magnify objects up to 2,000X. Made by a research team at PrakashLab at Stanford University, Foldscope is ultimately meant to be used in developing nations where being able to accurately diagnose specific diseases greatly improves survival, and where traditional microscopes may be out of range.
Foldscope is an origami-based print-and-fold optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper. Although it costs less than a dollar in parts, it can provide over 2,000X magnification with sub-micron resolution (800nm), weighs less than two nickels (8.8 g), is small enough to fit in a pocket (70 × 20 × 2 mm3), requires no external power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-story building or stepped on by a person.
The team is currently looking for 10,000 Beta testers. To sign up you have to send them a proposal of what you’d do with yours, through the link available below.