This Origami Microscope Costs Just $3, but It Can Diagnose Malaria
Many of the world’s most fatal and gruesome infectious diseases can be detected with a simple microscope. Doctors, though, often skip this step, as the $1,000 to $10,000 needed for a microscope can be prohibitive. As a result, people often live with diseases that could be cured, or they take drugs that might not be tailored to their specific parasites, leading to the development of drug-resistant strains.
But what if you could create a microscope that could be mass manufactured for pennies and be durable enough to survive a curb stomp? That’s the question Stanford University researcher Manu Prakash’s lab has been wrestling with over the last couple of years. Their answer is the Foldscope, a kind of microscope constructed out of greeting card paper, a watch battery, and a cheap lens that can diagnose roughly 20 infectious diseases, including malaria.
The cost: Between 50 cents and $3, depending on the Foldscope you want. And if you need to make your image bigger, projection Foldscopes can throw your magnification onto the wall.