A new product called MicrobeScope raising funds on Kickstarter is an iPhone-connected, pocket-sized 800x microscope that allows users to record and share video of what they are viewing.
The specimen is placed directly on the inverted lens, and the internal AAA size battery powered light source provides the illumination. The 800x magnification achieved by this simple device is unmatched by other small scopes and the phone mount is a game changer because of the ability to share real time video.
The company, 4D Optical, has been developing similar products for around 10 years and explained that advancements in iPhone camera tech in recent years have made MicrobeScope possible:
Before cell phone cameras became as good as they are now we were using standard video cameras. While this scope version produced excellent optical quality, it was not as small or as durable as we wanted. We also tried out a version that was pocket sized, but it did not have good video capture capabilities. When the iPhone 4S came out we realized that it was the perfect video camera, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with the MicrobeScope…
While the company notes that MicrobeScope is “a very powerful fixed focus instrument capable of viewing sub 1micron features of individual bacteria,” it’s also made it simple enough for kids to use and is taking donations to get MicrobeScope into schools.
The Kickstarter project has already raised well over its $10,000 goal and still has 25 days to go. A $125 pledge will get you a MicrobeScope when they are ready to ship in May or June. It also has a $10,000 or more pledge tier for professionals that will allow for a MicrobeScope customized with professional level optics.