Does anyone want to take bets on how long it'll be before Apple patients their latest innovation and then sues the ANU?
An accidental discovery at the Australian National University (ANU) has created a way to deposit-print small, high-quality optical lenses, in something that's been hailed as “turn a smartphone into an optical microscope”. Not only that, but they use a material already well-known in optics: polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), which is …
Resolution is the major problem, not magnification. You can get round the latter by using multiple lenses, but thed 4e latter is a show stopper if you are thinking of most medical microbiology and histopathology. The stated 4µm resolution would be useful for identifying plankton, plant fungal pathogens,mites and insects, but not cellular abnormalities. The bigger problem for field medical microscopy probably is not the microscope, but the preparation and staining of thin sections and smears.
Most smart phone cameras have a flash nearby that can be used as torches|flashlights. Stick a light pipe on the housing and you have your lamp. You could cut the light pipe so it was stepped-shape in order to get light from flashes at varying distances.
At the very least they could always just pull power from the audio jack via a continuous tone at an inaudible frequency.
So that if the audio connector is accidentally removed before the tone is stopped (via closing microscope App or turning the lamp off) then you don't deafen the user or waste the batteries on bluetooth devices (Bluetooth transceivers will filter out inaudible tones to stop feedback loops but the internal speakers will not)
Van Leeuwenhoek did better with a water droplet in 1679.
The Aussie discovery of natural formation of curved solids (after drying) is interesting and there may well be some novel aspects to it.
That being said even Leeuwenhoek had means for positioning the sample, focusing the microscope and refocusing on samples with some depth of structure exceeding the depth of focus of the lens. All of which gives Apple, Google or perhaps one of the readers here the opportunity to invent all the elements of microscopy in a cell phone like package.
There are so many opportunities, and so many people waiting for ideas to expropriate.
A similar system has already been developed at Stanford by Manu Prakash, the Foldscope, apparently it costs around 50 cents, has an XY stage of sorts and can project the image in a darkened room.
My only question I have is where can I buy some?
"but for microscopy this is toy-level gear."
Sure, but that doesn't stop some devs from coming up with dB resolution noise level meter apps for iPhones. Users claim them to be "stupid accurate".
Apparently it doesn't take much to convince your users that it works... Then again, iPhones and all that...
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