Using a clear pliable polymer, Steve Lee from the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Engineering, was able to create tiny lenses that, when mounted on a smartphone, turn the device into a high-resolution microscope. This gives the phone "magnifying power of up to 160 times" and an image resolution of four micrometers.
Lee and his team worked with Tri Phan from Sydneys Garvan Institute of Medical Research to find ways to transform the lens into a medical imaging tool. They designed a lightweight 3D-printable frame to hold the lens, along with a couple of miniature LED lights for illumination, and a coin battery.
Phan said the tiny microscope has a wide range of potential uses, particularly if coupled with the right smartphone apps. This is a whole new era of miniaturization and portability ? image analysis software could instantly transform most smartphones into sophisticated mobile laboratories, Dr Phan said.
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