Wristwatch Allergy – Bio60_2018

I wear a waterproof watch, which happens to contain nickel. I am slightly allergic to nickel, but I refuse to give up wearing the watch, so I always have a bit of contact dermatitis on my wrist. To me, it’s not a big deal. If anything, a little gross when I take my watch off after a workout and there’s a sticky layer of dead skin cells on the underside. But, I’ve always wondered whether wearing the watch actually harms my skin more than I think. So, using one of the slide stickers, I lifted a few layers of the deposit I normally clean off of my watch to view under a microscope. To compare this slide to a baseline, I also prepared scrapings from a hangnail that I assume was healthy skin before I removed it (or before the cells died). I predicted that the skin cells from my wristwatch would look similar to the skin cells from the hangnail, and therefore my watch wasn’t doing too much damage to my skin.

The samples were a little difficult to view due to their clear color, but it seemed like the skin from the hang nail was more rough and rigid than the skin from the watch, probably because moisture was trapped under my watchband, causing the skin there to soften. The residue from the watch was also easier to view under the Foldscope because the pieces of skin were smaller than that of the hangnail, so it was easier to focus the scope on a smaller region instead of viewing a couple larger pieces. It was also difficult to really look at just a couple cells due to their size. I tried zooming in on my phone to no avail.

After conducting this short inquiry, I have two questions about Foldscope:

  1. Is there any way to attach a second lens to zoom in further on very small subjects?
  2. Is there an easy, affordable, and accessible dye that can be used to make clear objects more visible?




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