Foldscope live demo of living organism

I had the opportunity last week to present in front of few dozen industrial scientists visiting stanford. The catch was I only had less than 10 minutes!

If I had to share one way that the foldscope really has changed the way I think about life :

I’d choose the fact that it provides a window into the physiology of tiny living organisms; their beautiful motions, dances and flows-a visceral reminder of the hallmark of life – that it is animate!

So, naturally I wanted to share this subtle, but personally important point. There were small challenges- preparing wet mounts, keeping organism alive and making sure the live projection from my iPhone to the big screen worked.

I took the risk (I had a couple backup slides) and everything turned out well. I’m sharing the video and a few images below in the hope of encouraging others to also share live demos; its tricky, requires preparation, but totally worth it!


Dive in!

Note: the larvae is of Culex tarsalis. I may have bungled up the name in the heat of the moment.



And here is one more picture from the event.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    @saad: you stole the show. Look at the eagerness on those faces; what an incredible moment captured. Peoples reaction is the best compliment you can get in a demo 🙂

    Wow wow wow. Thanks for sharing.

    Also, here is a link to Lightening to VGA connectors – that allows to connect phones to projectors.

    Can someone make a cheaper connector 🙂



  2. Saad Bhamla says:


    It’s a wonderful feeling, yes – to have a shared ‘aha’ moment with a group of people, where everyone is on the same page.

    Thank YOU for sharing the opportunity and the iPhone connector idea!!
    Learning from the best..


  3. tinacornely says:

    Saad, I can’t believe the timing of your project! Congrats for showing how the foldscope can be used to differentiate the different types of mosquito larvae. I too had the same idea and just yesterday posted about my upcoming humanitarian trip to Honduras. Zika is rampant in Honduras and they recently declared a state of emergency. I will be giving radio talks about simple solutions for vector control and how to stay safe. FYI radio is how rural communities and the poor receive their news feeds. I will also be teaching highschool students how to create teams that conduct mosquito safety outreach, data compilation and provide safeguarding tips to locals. These groups will be equipped with foldscopes so they can monitor mosquito larvae and determine which types of mosquitos are breeding in their respective communities. This data will be shared with health officials. Bravo Saad! I hope our respective projects will continue to inspire others about the multitude and invaluable uses of the foldscope.

  4. laksiyer says:

    @Saad. I loved the live demo. As you write, there is some preparation to do. Nothing like a live moving sample and a mosquito is perfect. The crowd had such an a-ha moment. Brilliant. I just wish all the phone companies were consistent with their equipment. I have a monitor and an android phone, how do I get a live projection, from phone to the monitor? I tried a cable that connects both, didnt work. Still breaking my head for a solution. Perhaps there is some software. Could you share the connectors you need to connect phone to projector.

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