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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

An Invention that would make microscope an household item

It is believed that life started on earth when various biochemicals came together and formed the first micro-organism which is believed to be the amoeba. This life form constantly evolved into complex organisms birds, dinosaurs, various mammals and ultimately humans. Humans by their advanced, constantly evolving and improving brains invented the microscope to understand the microscopic world. To know about the various cells that constitute the human body, how do the microorganisms look like , to know how does finer particles of matter  look like. 

                              

Optical Microscope

  • Eyepiece (ocular lens) (1)
  • Objective turret, revolver, or revolving nose piece (to hold multiple objective lenses) (2)
  • Objective lenses (3)
  • Focus knobs (to move the stage)
    • Coarse adjustment (4)
    • Fine adjustment (5)
  • Stage (to hold the specimen) (6)
  • Light source (a light or a mirror) (7)
  • Diaphragm and condenser (8)
  • Mechanical stage (9)
   The optical microscope has been in use for a long time and there has been hardly any change to its design. However more advanced microscopes like electron microscopes did come into existence and provided great magnification. But for the sake of detection of diseases - to observe the microorganisms that causes the diseases an optical microscope is normally enough. 

Now the problem we have this microscope is , its bulky and expensive and it is not easy to carry around. Thus except for research institutes, scientists , laboratories  and educational institutions very few people use microscopes. 

Manu Prakash , Assistant Professor at School of Medicine at Stanford University along with his students have come out with a new kind of microscope named "Foldscope". It is essentially made of stout paper that needs to be folded and then it can be used as a projection microscope. As shown in the below video which is Manu Prakash's speech at the a TED event in  he describes the Foldscope.



This foldscope can make microscope a common item at home just like we have the thermometer or the mobile phone. The inventors of Foldscope want to make it as common as a pencil , Manu Prakash says "The vision we are pursuing is to make a microscope akin to a "pencil" - wherever you have a pencil, you should have a microscope". It will surely boost children's curiosity towards exploring the microscopic world. It is very very light , very easy to carry , waterproof and extremely sturdy. Last but not the least the most attractive feature of this new invention is that it will cost not more than $ 1 or in India terms less than Rs 65.

        I just hope that I can get hands on one of these very soon would love to have one and explore the microscopic world. Watch magnified samples of my skin, blood, saliva, semen ;)  and everything microscopic I find around me. I will upload all the pics on this blog and on my Facebook pages. Simple people investigating the microscopic aspect of nature ... how wonderful that would be. 

      I am absolutely sure that around the world there would be millions of people who would do the same and in fact observing microscopic world would become a pastime for many (the numbers will be in millions). When kids are introduced to such gadgets from childhood many of them would be inspired to turn into scientists of the future. That's how cool and wonderful this invention is. 

  For all of you who are  interested to be a beta tester for the foldscope project they can register at www.foldscope.com/beta-signup

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