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BLIPS: Tiny, Powerful Smartphone Macro Lenses that Fit in Your Wallet

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Adding macro capabilities to your smartphone camera usually involves a DIY hack like this one, but if you’re looking for more professional results then you should definitely check out the BLIPS micro & macro lenses.

Just posted to Kickstarter a few days ago, BLIPS is an ultra portable set of 2 mini lenses engineered specifically for smartphone use in mind—in fact, they’re calling them “the world’s thinnest set of microscope lenses for smartphones and tablets.”

Thanks to their design they can be attached to any smartphone over and over again, and their little ‘carrying case’ is small enough to slide right into your wallet. Check out the Kickstarter video below to see what we’re talking about:

The set is made up of the BLIPS Macro and BLIPS Micro lenses:

The BLIPS Macro lens is only 0.5mm thin, but offers optical magnification of about 10x. Its working distance is about 1/2-inch (12mm) and it works a lot like adding a laser pointer lens to your smartphone, only at much higher quality.

Photo taken without (left) and with (right) the BLIPS Macro lens.
Photo taken without (left) and with (right) the BLIPS Macro lens.
Human eye captured with BLIPS Macro.
Human eye captured with BLIPS Macro.

The Micro lens is meant for scientific use, and offers much higher magnification, letting you “use your smartphone as a real microscope in seconds.” As they explain it on the Kickstarter:

Blips Micro is able to detect details of about 1/7000 inch (≈1/300 mm), distinguishing single cells or other inhabitants of the micro-world. [It] is less than 1/20 inch (~1.2mm) thick, and turns your phone into an actual digital microscope. You need to keep a distance of ¼ inch (6mm) between the lens and the sample under observation to discover tiny details at a high definition. With the use of the digital zoom it’s possible to achieve magnification of over 100x.

BLIPS Micro before and after.
BLIPS Micro before and after.

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Obviously the amount of magnification you get depends on your phone’s capabilities, but these are undeniably powerful. Plus, they’re affordable.

The Basic Kit—which includes both lenses in a thin, credit card-sized carrying case—will cost you only $23. The Lab Kit—which includes a selection of pre-prepared microscope slides and a stage with light source for viewing those slides—is only $46. You can get both together for $57.

All the early bird deals are sadly gone and the BLIPS lenses are already overfunded, but getting your BLIPS kit through Kickstarter is still the best way to go. To find out more about these lenses or put down a pledge of your own, head over to Kickstarter.

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