I know we got lots of dirt cheap microscope enthusiasts here, but at a recent event (funded by GOSH and Sloan from the event funding giveaway) @alex9000 showed the cheapest and quickest way i have seen to have 30 5 year old kids build and use their own microscopes in minutes l!
Here’s the simple open source recipe to turn any phone into a quickie microscope for like 10cents, based on @wildlivesclass @GOSH workshop!
purchase cheap laser lenses in bulk for like 10 bucks
laser lens 7mm for sale | eBay
use a bobby pin as a lens holder
tape the lens over the widest angle camera lens on the back of your phone
let the kids loose! Since you are using phones, i had some of the kids send their observation straight to inaturalist. They could auto-ID many things! This included some citronella ants, that made us curious if the ants smelled or tasted like lemongrass, and within about 5 minutes, an ant-licking craze started and the kids had a blast.
(I don’t think i posted this here before, but sorry for double posting if i did!)
Also - if you don’t have a smartphone but still want to go digital: https://matchboxscope.github.io/
Ha, what a cool and super simple design! Gonna remember this for future science outreach-y things I do. Also love the step of tying in iNaturalist.
Dumb question: If the laser lens is already secured to the camera on the back of the phone with tape, what does the pin do???
You don’t tape over the lens so you don’t obscure it. The clip holds the lens, and you tape the clip
Ah I see. Thanks! Cool stuff.
Ha! Quite some classics here!
The laser lenses work perfectly fine for many “macro” applications… go even cheaper by just adding a drop of water and use the spherical meniscus to magnify
Or make your own lenses from scrap glass you find on a beach:
I finally extracted, pirated and released our old chapter on how to build the “hackteria style” DIY microscope here.
Link to direct download.