Why is blood red?

Why is blood red? In the mean time, let’s pay attention to the last slide I made (with a little bit of water). I was hoping to image some crawling neutrophils (cells responsible to fight foreign elements that invade our bodies). I setup a time lapse with a drop of blood. I did not notice any…

Crack at a mystery of blood drops 

Why a drop of blood cracks? I don’t usually cook. When I cook, I can’t be stopped. So you can imagine a scenario, where I think I know what I am doing in the kitchen; but I really don’t. This scenario unfolded recently, and in the rush to chop some vegetables, I sliced my hand. Not…

Cough cough 

Do you know how many times you coughed today? Or sneezed.. And the days you don’t feel well or have a sore throat. It’s almost like an involuntary thing we just have to do to keep ourselves functioning well. Remarkably, a cough or sneeze is the very first behavior that ever evolved in multi-cellular animalsYes,…

March of the crystals

Inspired by the series of posts from the “frozen project” by a 6-year old and mom; I brought out my Vitamin C crystal bottle again. See Frozen project series here: http://microcosmos.foldscope.com/2015/05/20/the-frozen-project-the-conclusion/ @Laks and I have previously posted extensively on Vitamin C crystallization and also it’s biological implications [see post here] Now it was time for…

Foldscopes in iGEM

We are using the foldscopes to try and make synthetic biology easier.  Not every lab, particularly high school labs, have expensive fluorescent microscopes to be able to detect fluorescent gene expression. We have been using the Prakash Labs,( http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0098781 )paper to assemble our own.  Is anyone else out there using foldscopes as fluorescent detectors?  We’d love…

Foldscope focus stacking for high depth of field images

Microscopy always brings a challenge for imaging truly 3D subjects; since the depth of focus of most optical elements is small. Thus one choice you have as a microscopist is to squeeze something really flat in a slide – but this option will most likely kill and distort the sample you are trying to image….

Fitting a cheap webcam to the foldscope

Taking photos and movies with a mobile phone or tablet attached to the foldscape works very well and is great fun. Here I am looking for a cheaper alternative, so that I can let everyone have a go without worrying about the phone. I tried one of these cheap 640×480 pixel webcams with 6 LEDs,…

Throwie LED as Foldscope light source 

when we shipped the first batch of Foldscope; we made the decision of including only a limited number of light modules. The rational was to encourage users to do day-light outdoors microscopy. Since most of these packages were going to far away places; we were worried about if the battery might get screened.  Here I…

Bubbles propogating in proboscis of a live mosquito

I have a love and hate relationship with mosquitoes. They have been called a Winged Scourged and have a devastating effect on our society; for thousands of years. If you are interested in watching; here is a link to a beautiful 1943 “classic” commissioned by the US government who asked “Walt Disney” to make a…

Fabian Pease and the story of writing a text book on head of a pin!! 

I have been so lucky to meet Prof. Fabian Pease (almost by accident); an emeritus professor at Stanford. We hang out, drink coffee and chat science; and specially discuss “frugal science” and why the world needs scientific tools in the hands of everyone. I have learned so much from Fabian in a short period of…

Secondary presentations

Greetings again Foldscope community. About a month ago I posted about presenting the Foldscope to the Science faculty at my high school (I’m a teacher, not a student). It went great!! my colleagues are super excited and I’m presenting the foldscopes to 3 classes (AP/IB) later this week. I also have done some more work…

Foldscope Plan

The Foldscopes arrived a month ago and I shared them with a few fellow medical laboratory scientist. The plan was to see if we could put it together. It took about a half hour to assemble. We were happy to get in on this project and eager to get started. We were able to use…

Watching Vitamin C crystal grow – Inspired by Frozen

Updated (see note below)  By Manu and Laksiyer  This post will be written as a conversation between two people far away. Just like the originators of the Frozen project 🙂  Manu: Laks, did you know we have incredible group of contributors that started a series of “frozen” projects to explore crystal growth using Foldscope. I…

Fractals in a tear of plastic 

“Beauty of science is everywhere around us” – I was caught saying this phrase recently; and I wanted to share more of this beauty with everyone. This time I decided to look at the curious phenomena of what happens when you cut a piece of plastic film; but with a blunt object. Say you decide…

LED board troubleshoot/fix.

Hello – nothing looks melted or anything, but then again I don’t know what exactly it looked like before it stopped working.  I replaced the battery, but still no light.  It worked fine for a week of work, and was lit the last time we used it in our middle school science classes.  Have been…

Salt crystals growing and dissolving!

I saw Manu’s recent video showing snowflakes (ice crystals) melting to form water. I thought I’d try something similar with salt crystals, which slowly dissolve and re-form when placed in water containing a high concentration of dissolved salt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bjJVQ5kVRY&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwSoW3LIg6E All videos shown at 120x actual speed. I made a super-saturated salt solution by pouring two…

Minerals with Cross-Polarized Light

Using some minerals samples that we had lying around at work and low budget tools (my fingernail to scrape off pieces of the minerals), I looked at crystal structures with a cross-polarized light Foldscope (see this post for instructions). First, some muscovite mica which forms in very thin sheets and has high birefringence (which is what…

Eye of a squid!!

Life in the ocean is tough. You swim around to find food and if you are big; you don’t really have a place to hide. So you better watch out if you want to avoid danger in the open ocean. This is where sophisticated eyes come in to play. This post is about a very…

Puzzle of “no mess” sand

Recently, killing some time at the airport – I went into a Brookestone store. The only thing that excites me at the store was the pile of “sand”. Now, firstly – somebody has figured out how to sell sand for $20-30 bucks. That is genius. But once I insisted, the store manager let me play…

Brownian Motion through #Foldscope

I first heard about Brownian motion in school. My teachers taught me how Robert Brown, the English Botanist had observed Pollen grains dancing about when suspended in water and viewed under a microscope. As I went on to college I learnt about the equations describing this phenomenon. For my Masters degree I even did research…

Simple Microscopes

I have made a web page about simple microscopes (have only a single lens) which includes the FoldScope.  Optical technical details, links to papers, &Etc. http://www.prc68.com/I/SimpleMicroscopes.html Includes Leeuwenhoek, Bullet microscope, Ball lens info. Have Fun,  Brooke

Pressure inside a tiny bubble

Bubbles are beautiful. Big or small; they hold such mysteries. You find them everywhere, and conceptually they show up at many many length scales. From the very big to the very small. So here is a puzzle; what’s the pressure inside a tiny bubble. If you are trapped inside a tiny bubble; how much pressure…

Simple way to keep fixed focus on Foldscope – use paper stack

Many of you had emailed to ask me how I keep the focus fixed in any of my movies. This is specially relevant when: 1. You want to watch a process for a long time. 2. When you would like to do quantitative microscopy (when you analyze what you captured; such as a ciliate trajectory)….