Getting Started with my Foldscope

I’m happy to be joining the Foldscope community today! Having received one through a connection with one of my graduate professors, I can’t wait to take this bad boy out for a spin. While I’d assume everyone here has had the opportunity to put theirs together, for my first blog post I wanted to share just how easy it really was!


When the scope arrived, I could hardly wait to get started! It was reminiscent a plastic piece of paper that had somehow survived a trip through the shredder, but with a beautiful nature-inspired design in the upper corner. I took a peek at the instructions and was able to quickly decipher what needed to happen next; it felt similar to my childhood forays into model building.

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A few steps in, and I’m chugging away. The pieces are easy to separate, and I’m really just using the instructions to make sure I’m on the right track as I go. I might have not even needed them! It’s fun looking at the different pieces and figuring out how they fit together. I have a feeling that this piece of paper will quickly become greater than the sum of its parts!


My “long-tailed turtle” is snugly in place, and I can start to see exactly how this scope is going to work. There’s an ingeniously-designed slot for microscope slides, and a hole in the center where my lens will poke through.  Holding it in my hands, I can already see how I can use my thumbs to adjust the view and focal length of the scope.


Turtle-tail folded down, and my lens is in place! I love the idea of the piece designed for photomicroscopy that adheres to a smartphone. The magnets on either side hold everything in perfect alignment with the scope lens, making it a “snap” to use. Let’s take it for a spin!

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Snagged some Usnea lichen from outside, and it took me a minute or two to get acquainted with my new Foldscope. Before too long (and once I realized and corrected the issue of a backwards lens) I thought WOW! I was getting some amazing shots! I’ve worked with microscopes in the past, but love the powerful simplicity of this design. And look at that magnification!

I’m really excited to take this scope around and see what I can see, so I’ll log off for now and report back soon. Again, I’m happy and thankful to have joined the Folscope community; I’ve greatly enjoyed looking at all the previous posts, and look forward to the many to come!

Cheers and happy exploring!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Cherrmann,

    Wonderful to read your detailed post. It’s really the enthusiasm of this user community that drives us every day. It is such a delight to see that you turned your foldscope to lichens – now I know what that dangling thing is to all my plants in the garden 🙂

    The community is a great resource for tips. Also; browse through the posts to feel the depth of techniques. You will see a ton of posts describing all kind of techniques including 1) hacking your foldscope for different modalities 2) focus locking tricks 3) video microscopy 4) live imaging 5) time lapse microphotography and more..

    Welcome to the community. Keep exploring.


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