A beating heart, perhaps?

Our pond had been welcoming a lot of frog (or toad) visitors each night since the monsoon started. Recently, I found what I am pretty sure were frog eggs on the edge of the pond: they were jelly-coated, but pretty small, and not spherical – sort of shaped like pomegranate arils. When disturbed with a…

Pollinators’ paradise

Bees are a rare sight in the city. They are seen as a threat, and we humans are driving them to extinction. Yet, without them no life is possible on Earth. A passion fruit vine in my garden sees scores of pollinators every afternoon. What’s admirable is that both species that visit, honeybees and stingless…

Outer and inner onion epidermises – stained at home!

The first time I sampled an onion peel was a bit different from the introductory experiment in a biology textbook (I observed the outer epidermis, without staining it). Till now I haven’t been able to get the same “3D” effect again (https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=197449), but today’s observations were equally beautiful! This time, I observed and compared the…

Spores, pollen, wonder and more

This is a documentation of two intended samples and one hitch-hiked sample, all very different from each other yet peacefully inhabiting the same square foot habitat. Plus one bonus sample at the end! When I first learnt about fern spores, I was intrigued by how an entire plant grew out of a microscopic grain, and…

Coupling hack for large phone cameras and iPhone focus shaking

I always had a few problems while taking photos of observations under my Foldscope. One was that the magnetic coupler hole is way too small to fix onto any phone camera without blocking some part of the camera. Another was the black circle around an observation, and the field of view would become considerably smaller….

A Camera-shy Tardigrade!

My first tardigrade – and a surprise at that. I looked into my Foldscope, and, without panning or focusing, the first thing that I saw was a slightly blurred, but recognisable little creature! Yesterday I scraped off some lichens from two trees on my street. I think they were the same kind of lichens; they…

Is your mask really safe?

I observed six different types of face masks being used in India during the COVID-19 pandemic under my Foldscope. Depending on the size of the spaces between the fibres of the masks, I analysed the ability of each mask to protect the wearer, and those around the wearer. Blue Disposable Mask A regular, single-use disposable…

Comparative study of device screens

This is an analysis of a phone screen, a laptop screen, and a TV screen. Pixels are visible in three colours – red, blue and green – in all the screens, but the pixels of each screen differ in shape and size. There are variations in the pixel densities. Based on the pixel density, the…

A pool of life!

I noticed a green layer (presumably algae) growing on the terracotta pots on my terrace. All the pots have greenish growth on them, but they all look very different. One pot had a layer which was considerably thicker, and easy to scrape off. I soaked bits of it in regular tap water and let it…

Stomata and Guard Cells

I observed the outer epidermis of a leaf and the skin of a pea pod under my Foldscope. The samples were taken at different times of the day, and we can see both closed and open stomata, depending on when they were taken. Closed Stomata This is a leaf peel from a rhoeo (Tradescantia spathacea)…

Onion Cells

An onion peel is typically one of the first samples viewed when introduced to school-level microscopy. Here are images of an onion skin under my Foldscope. The cells are seen very distinctly and have a three-dimensional appearance. CookerBird