Surfing surfaces

Here is a hack with the new foldscope lens. Using a magnetic coupler and a lens, couple the two onto the phone’s camera-eye. This can be directly used to scan objects. For a reflecting light source, you can use the camera flashlight (if your app allows you to have the flashlight and the camera on simultaneously) or use a flashlight, which is what I used as in the picture below. The hack allows one to explore surfaces like nothing else, and it is tremendously addictive, although you need really steady hands. Here is how the hack looks.

Of the two lenses in my kit, one is in the foldscope properly coupled with stage etc, and the other is almost always attached to my camera as above. That way I can quickly scan interesting surfaces and then take samples in areas which interest me. With the above hack, I took some pictures below. Can you guess what they are? Look at the legend for answers.

A) Wood used on my staircase; can you see the thick varnish. B) African violet leaf, look at the stomata; C) print on paper, D) hair emerging from the root of my hand; E) Tissue paper, F) Surface of a succulent leaf, G) Artificial flower, H) Dry-wall

Each of the above pictures has some aspect that pleases me to no end. I love B) where you can see the epidermis and the mesophyll cells from the “leaf-top”.

We had our first snow yesterday and snow flake melting videos are fun to do with the above hack. I have an idea of an elegant light design that can go with the hack and with the foldscope stage inspired by @MattB’s old foldscope post. Reflecting microscopy with the foldscope will soon be a breeze I suspect. Will describe when done.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    @Laks: Brilliant as always. What a fantastic post.. it is convenient that we included two lenses in the new foldscope kit – so you can use one in the microscope and one in this configuration. Absolutely love Image (b) and the videos. I can also imagine if you use the third coupler under the lens, you might be able to set the distance of the lens at the right height so that you just “scan” a flash surface. No need for maintaining focus-distance gap manually. Please give that a try.

    Setting up a time lapse in this mode for growing fungus would be incredible.. want to try that.

    Happy holidays; I can’t wait for holidays to post all the foldscope posts that are waiting..


  2. laksiyer says:

    @Manu that is a fantastic idea. Now I wonder if I can insert one of those flat LEDs (mounted on some kind of paper)between lens and subject connected to a battery with wires that are far away. Yes time lapse with this for growth is a wonderful idea. Cant wait to read your posts. I am just loving all the parts of the foldscope box.

  3. Ronak Hati says:

    Or if the phone doesn’t allow camera and flashlight to work together, simply turn on the recording mode. The flashlight stays on.

  4. Priyanka011 says:

    @LAKSIYER Hlo sir.. This is great hack but i have been trying the same but couldn’t achieve any i wanted to know if there is any particular angle at which phone’s camera (coupled with magnetic coupler and lens) or LED Light should be placed or other conditions required to get clear images of pollen, semen etc on wall, table, cloths or floor.

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