A team of researchers at UC Davis have come up with a super-cheap way of turning an iPhone into a microscope — useful for diagnosing diseases in areas where medical equipment is hard to come by. Inspired by the CellScope project at UC Berkeley, Sebastian Wachsmann-Hogiu decided to create something even smaller and cheaper. By taping a 1-millimeter ball lens embedded in a rubber sheet to the iPhone, he was able to boost magnification by 5x, which allows the camera to photograph blood cells. Only a small portion of each image is in focus, so they also utilize focus stacking to achieve more usable photos.
The best part is the price — each lens only costs $30-40, and would be even cheaper if mass produced.
Less than a year ago when I was a grad student at Berkeley, I heard a guest lecture by Professor Daniel Fletcher in which he discussed his CellScope project. His group aims to transform cell phones into light microscopes to aid in disease diagnosis in developing countries. Turns out the concept can be used for more than medical purposes.
Inspired by the CellScope, Nokia hired Aardman to create the world’s smallest stop-motion film using the Nokia N8 cell phone. The result is “Dot”, a stop-motion film starring an uber-small 9mm tall girl. Aardman had to create 50 different versions of the girl for all her various poses, and spent about one day making every four seconds of the video. Read more…