Foldscoop 1:2

On the 28th of February, the DC-micronauts met again at one of the houses. The plan this time was to refine our skills  and  learn  the issue of scale. One of the things I wanted to instill was in each of the micronatus was a sense of the dimensions of the objects we saw under the microscope. Using a scale micrometer, we calibrated some of our phones. Hopefully in the coming posts, you will get more details of the dimensions of the objects we observe. I am planning to teach them to use ImageJ for computation. If you have any recommendations for good softwares for the same, please enlighten us. We  learnt to use a microtome and blade to make sections. We also played with a few stains. Also in this batch were a set of new micronauts who assembled their foldscope and took their first baby steps in observing. With spring around the corner, we are gearing up for months of observing ahead of us.

Laks Iyer


collage 03192016

This collage contains various pictures, including pollen, trichomes and stained substances.

Trichomes are featured in the first row, first picture and third picture, as well as the middle picture. These were taken by Nina Raghavan , who also captured those wonderfully clear pollen particles in the first row.

“One of the most recent things I discovered with my foldscope was the trichome The trichome is a little bump in the edges of a leaf. I examined many different leaves looking for trichomes, and I made a shocking discovery, that not every leaf has the same shape of tricones. On each leaf, the trichome is different, trichomes come in many different shapes and sizes. On some leaves tricones are pointy, while others are round . While looking for trichomes,I also found some pollen. The pollen leaves a trail of yellow powder or substance to it, and I often found the pollen in clumps.”

Nina Raghavan

Kartik Krishnan was responsible for the stained onion cell in the second row, first picture.

Uma Krishnan stained a piece of banana (last row middle picture)
“I think it’s great how I can actually see the starch clearly! When I first looked at the cell, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. When I asked, I learned that it was the starch that eventually decreases as the banana ripens. I thought it was fascinating to be able to see part of such a normal process occurring.”
Uma Krishnan

Nataraj and Yash Shivaprasad looked at some leaves and practiced their staining technique.

(last row first picture) 

Nataraj and Yash Shivaprasad
(last row third picture) “Here is the same leaf stained with a dye. With the stain, the nuclei are more visible for some cells.”
Nataraj and Yash Shivaprasad
Overall, the meeting was very fun and educational. We all had a great time with staining whatever we could get our hands on!
-Uma Krishnan

One Comment Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Wow wow wow. DC Micronauts club continue to inspire me in many ways. Way to go.. Love the comments of your first impression. I always love to document my first impression; it truly tells us all how far we go by looking at the first steps.

    ImageJ is an incredible tool. I really love it – and it’s being actively developed. Another replica of imageJ is FijI – which is almost the same (but implemented in Java). I have been curious about a simple but powerful quantitative image processing tool for iPhones; I found lots of Photoshop like tools (enlight); but nothing for quantitative microscopy. Maybe, we all will have to write one.

    On the measure of scale – I have been looking for an object that fits the following criteria as an embedded vale bar:
    1) Has a known and fixed size (microscopic).
    2) Is readily available, free of cost to anyone around the world.
    3) Easily observable

    This would make a great inherent scale bar. One trick we played – when making the Foldscope – is the “dot” at the end of the word Foldscope written on the sticky tape for slides that comes with the microscope – is a square dot with a dimension of 75um (I think – need to double check). Thus every slide has an embedded scale bar.

    In future; we will print a real micro-scale bar in all the slides.

    Keep going Micronauts.


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