What if I say that you can now not only own your own personal microscope but also carry it around in your pocket? You would assume I’m talking crazy but with the pace at which the technological advancements are taking place all around the world, this is just the beginning.
Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, and his team has developed a 50-cent print-and-fold paper microscope called the Foldscope. The tiny microscope is capable of performing brightfield, darkfield, fluorescence, and polarization microscopy. It can also reach the submicron resolution.
Embedded with applications like K-12 education, global health and citizen science, Prakash aims to fulfil the dream of anyone, anywhere passionate about discovering and studying the microscopic world.
Meerut born Prakash is a BTech in computer science and engineering from the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. He has further done his masters and PhD in applied physics from MIT. This is when he finally decided to shift his base to United States and founded the Prakash Lab at Stanford University.
In the year 2012, the ultra-low-cost, “print-and-fold” paper microscope, foldscope, had won a whopping $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation.
Talking about his inspiration behind building foldscope, he said, he is humbled and inspired by nature’s own solutions to the world’s biggest problems.
“I build and design tools to uncover how and why biological systems so often outsmart us. I believe one day we will be able to understand the physical design principles of life on Earth, leading to a new way to look at the world we live in,” Prakash said in an interview to a leading news magazine.