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Behind the Glass Lecture | Foldscopes with Max Coyle

Max Coyle along with Dr. Manu Prakesh, both experts in applied physics at Stanford University, created Foldscope, an origami-based microscope made of paper. The lens for this paper microscope is a small glass bead. The cost required to make it? Less than one U.S. dollar. Coyle, Prakesh, and their colleagues at Stanford were inspired to create a widely-available and affordable microscope during their travels around the world. They often encountered bulky, broken microscopes, or even worse, a complete lack of them. The revolutionary affordability of the Foldscope inspired the pair to get it into as many hands as possible, particularly in places where there were no labs. In 2014, 50,000 Foldscopes were distributed in 135 countries as a pilot project. This global distribution of Foldscopes revealed an astonishing variety of applications, from identifying microscopic eggs of agricultural pests in India to cataloging the biodiversity of soil arthropods in the Amazon.

In this lecture, Coyle talks about Foldscopes and their next model, which will contain a 2.38 mm borosilicate glass lens that provides 140x magnification and 2 micron resolution sufficient to distinguish red blood cells and watch live bacteria.