Imagine turning your smart phone into a microscope! In the past we have seen other approaches by which a mobile can be converted into a microscope but most of those ways have been bulky, expensive and not that powerful.

Scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) which belongs to the U.S Department of Energy have found out a way by which a smart phone can be transformed into high quality microscope. The mobile microscope is created by combining a 3D printed clip along with a glass sphere. The microscope is fitted over the camera lens and the microscope is quite sleek. It is designed in such a way that it will fit most of the smart phones and tablets. The phones and tablets that are compatible with this microscope are: iPhone 4 and 5, Galaxy S3 and S4 phones and iPads.

Cheryl Baird a biochemist said, “We interviewed a lot of first responders, public health labs and civil support teams. They told us the first thing they do when a suspicious powder sample gets to the lab, is to put it under the microscope. An inexpensive, yet powerful microscope in the field could be used to quickly determine whether the material is a threat or a hoax. Combine the microscope with the picture sharing capability of a smart phone and now practically anyone can evaluate a sample at the source and have a trained microbiologist located in a lab elsewhere interpret the results within minutes.”

The design specifications have been available online free of charge by PNNL in an effort to promote 3D printing and also permitting anyone with a 3D printer the power to 3D print their own microscope. The material cost involved in taking a printout of this would be less than $1.