What Is the Purpose of a Phone Microscope?

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For many medical diagnostics, you need to inspect very small objects, down to the level of individual cells. For that, a microscope is required. Over the past decade, the demand to bring diagnostics into homes grew more and more.

cellphone-microscope-photo

Also, there are areas where standard laboratory equipment is not an option. Therefore, as technology progressed, phone microscopes have been designed and became available for the general public.

This was certainly a breakthrough for scientists working in the field, looking for ways to detect malaria or other blood-borne parasites in Africa, for example. The basis of many portable medical diagnostic devices is often a mobile phone-based microscope.

Design

You might have never thought of your mobile device as being similar to a microscope but the truth is that it has almost all the necessary parts. The camera sensor and the lens are arranged just as they would be in a microscope. What more is required is some magnification.

With the phone microscopes available on the market, this is made possible by positioning another lens on the phone camera. Now, you only need to think about illuminating your sample. This is a significant aspect, just as important as the lenses used. Scientists and engineers worked tirelessly to develop mobile phone microscopes with outstanding capabilities.

Many of these are designed around custom illumination. However, the engineering required to assemble these phone microscopes is not easy at all. In many cases, you should have a decent amount of skills and a laboratory to put these units together. Because of this, some researchers started to design phone microscopes that are easier to assemble and use.

Using the phone’s light

Since most available phone microscopes require external illumination sources, the idea of using the phone’s already existent light popped into some minds. It was a real challenge to deal with the flash points that are set in the wrong direction for such use.

But, thanks to the flash being so bright, all that was needed was to use the diffuse reflection off regular plastic. Therefore, a new model was designed with a clip that has a series of tunnels which confine the light and turn it around in order to face the camera and the sample.

What is a microscope?

This device is used to view objects that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. The science that investigates small objects and structures using a microscope is called microscopy. Surely you have heard about things being referred to as microscopic. This means that they are invisible to the eye and can only be seen through a microscope.

There are many types of microscopes out there, and they can also be grouped in various ways. One of these ways is to define the manner in which instruments interact with a sample in order to create an image which can occur by sending a beam of light to a sample in its optical path, or by scanning across, at a short distance from the surface of a sample utilizing a probe.

The most common type of microscope is the optical one. It was also the first model to be invented. This unit uses light that passes through a sample in order to deliver an image. Other commonly used microscopes are the electron microscope and the fluorescence microscope. There are also several types of scanning probe microscopes.

A breakthrough

A standard microscope is rather large and needs to be placed on a table or desk in order to be used. Some older models are quite heavy as well. The point is that they are not portable and not an option to take in the field.

As mentioned earlier, there are many situations for which scientists and doctors could use such a device in the field where they cannot use lab equipment. Moreover, being able to study and diagnose on the spot can save lives. There are many diseases that can be cured if discovered at an early stage.

Also, collecting blood samples, sending them to a different location where the lab is, and waiting for results is a complicated process. A cell phone microscope solves a lot of these problems and it is safe to say that it is an invention that many people had been waiting for. Fortunately, now everyone can enjoy such devices for various purposes.

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Summary
Title
What Is the Purpose of a Phone Microscope?
Description
For many medical diagnostics, you need to inspect very small objects, down to the level of individual cells. For that, a microscope is required.

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