Turning a camera phone into a microscope

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland have developed an optical accessory that can turn an ordinary camera phone into a microscope.

Feb 17th, 2012
An optical accessory can turn an ordinary camera phone into a microscope.
An optical accessory can turn an ordinary camera phone into a microscope.

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland have developed an optical accessory that can turn an ordinary camera phone into a microscope.

To use the device, a user simply needs to attach it in front of a camera phone’s existing lens. The plastic lens on the microscope then acts to magnify any object placed in front of it, while a number of LEDs sunk into the outer edge of the lens illuminate the object from different angles.

The microscopic accessory itself has a field of view of 2mm x 3mm, a depth of field of between 0.05 to 0.1mm and a resolution between 6-10 microns.

The microscope’s developers believe that it will find numerous uses imaging a variety of surfaces and structures that could then be forwarded as MMS messages.

A new Finnish start-up called KeepLoop (Tampere, Finland) is already exploring the commercial potential of the invention, and the first industrial and consumer models will be released early this year.

-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

More in Life Sciences