Researchers Convert the iPhone into Affordable Medical Microscope

  • UC Davis researchers have determined how to transform the iPhone camera into a microscope with details up to 1.5 microns using a 1mm ball lens that offers 5x magnification.
  • The team “has one-upped the competition by making the iPhone into a 350x microscope for very little money,” reports TechCrunch. “Now you’ll be able to send people Instagrams of your blood cells.”
  • “The field of view is very small and there’s distortion to deal with, but by combining the in-focus areas of several pictures you can get a clear enough image to identify cell types, make counts, or even take spectroscopic readings,” comments the article on the image capturing process.
  • The post includes compelling side-by-side images comparing a commercial microscope with the iPhone camera set-up. There is also a link to the UC Davis paper, “Cell-Phone-Based Platform for Biomedical Device Development and Education Applications.”
  • “It may not be a mobile clinic, but in areas where money and electricity are hard to come by, an iPhone could be a valuable diagnostic tool,” suggests TechCrunch.