Foldscope Community

Foldscope: An Origami-Based Microscope

Foldscope is an ultra-affordable field microscope, that you build from common materials such as paper. It is designed to be produced affordably, to be durable, and to give optical quality similar to conventional research microscopes. With magnification of 140X and imaging resolution of 2 micron; Foldscope brings microscopy to new places. Be it your kitchen or a mountain top. Compatible with almost all camera phones.

Our Mission

We produce low-cost scientific tools to expand access to science. We aim to break down the price barrier between people and the curiosity and excitement of scientific exploration.

Our Community

Foldscope users around the world, of all ages, share their observations, ideas, and problems in an online space called the Microcosmos. We teach each other, we learn from each other and we all grow as scientist together.

To know more about our community, see videos below:

67 Comments Add yours

  1. Robertlowejr says:

    I have just finished constructing my foldscope. I am thrilled, and have one picture of water droplets on my iPhone. More to follow. Thank you all.

    1. Manu Prakash says:

      Congrats. Post your picture with an entry; describe your process assembling it so others can learn from your experience. Looking forward to seeing your entries exploring the microcosmos..


  2. I just received an email that Foldscopes are on their way to us at Carr Intermediate in Santa Ana, CA. So excited to get my seventh grade science students exploring the microcosmos!

  3. Dennis Angle says:

    Got my foldscope on Monday and rushed to get it together and figure it out – because my oldest grandson (11) received one on Monday also. I look forward to seeing his photos and to showing my youngest grandson (4) what the microcosmo looks like .

    My tinkering lead me to taping the photo magnets in place as I’ll always use it with my iphone 6 plus.

    Thanks to the Prakash Lab for all your work!!

  4. jeneel says:

    i wish i could track the shipment to India…….if you can send everyone their tracking id via email………i cannot wait for the Foldcope anymore

  5. joy says:

    I saw a video of you speak at the Tech to Reconnect at the San Diego zoo. My 7 year old loved the idea. How can we purchase one or make one?

  6. Radha says:

    Thanks for sending me 10 foldscopes that I had requested for use in school. Today we assembled 4 foldscopes with Grade VIII students. We delved into the world of spit, pond water, butterfly wing, bougainvilla petal, pollen grain etc. As we viewed each of these our experiences translated as – awesome, terrific magnification, amazing resolution, we could spend hours on this! Thank you. We will try and post some pictures soon.

    1. Manu Prakash says:

      Can’t wait to see the pictures. Also, it will provide some context to where you are.


  7. Peter A'Hearn says:

    We assembled the foldscope fine and are looking at a slide of pond water from a desert-area “warm” spring. We are able to see mostly entrapped dirt, not anything moving yet. We will try projecting at night. Thanks so much for the opportunity. Beta No. 0001D33A4936

  8. Doug Schoon says:

    It is said the scope magnification is up to 2000X, but I don’t see anything that appears magnified more than 400-500X. Can you post a pic of a human hair @1000X or more? I’d like to see the resolution.

    1. Manu Prakash says:

      The microscope kits that are sent to beta users have a 140x and 480x magnification. The 1400 and 2000x magnification microscopes are described in the PloS One publication with the complete parts list and costs here:


  9. aruna says:

    how do u select applications………i am a teacher and have signed up for 10 microscopes for my students would i get it?

  10. Sundarii says:

    Hello. I just watched your TED talk, and I’m so excited about your Foldscope. Im staying in Thailand for 6 months, and would love to try out some of your scopes, for my own curiosity as well as helping the local community in understanding the need for clean food and water in preventing diseases.
    How can I get a sampling of your microscopes to test and diagnose various bacteria?
    Thank you for this wonderful and thoughtful invention, Sundarii

  11. Malhar says:

    It has been almost a month since I received an email stating that my foldscope had been shipped, but so far nothing has arrived. I live in New Delhi, India, could you please provide me with an approximate date for its arrival? I am very excited after seeing all the crazy things one can see under the foldscope, and the waiting is killing me!


  12. raj says:

    i received an email that there is an error in shipping to my address………i filled out the new address form.but i had received an email before that your foldscope in shipped………what is this supposed to mean that after shipping the kit it returned to you

    1. Manu Prakash says:

      Something along those lines.

  13. raj says:

    so when it it that i will be shipped back

  14. raj says:

    so when it it that i will be shipped back.

  15. Hi! Testing and loving my Foldscope. Maybe a little TOO much. I scratched the low mag lens on the point (culet) of a gem – yes, I’m the one posting gem pics. I sent an e-mail to ask if I could get another lens, and that I would pay via Paypal or however to get it + shipping, so I can continue my studies. I have many more items to review! I haven’t heard anything back and I’m a bit stuck. I’m using the hi mag now, but I wanted both options.

    I have written a brief summary of my use of the Foldscope for gem testing and Gems & Gemology magazine has agreed to run it in their Spring issue. Gotta love free press!

    Kate (GemGirl)

  16. Margi Friedman-Eckes says:

    A student of mine received a Foldscope & brought it in to class to assemble. We watched the videos on assembling it-they made it very easy!

    I am still waiting to receive the Foldscopes for students in my other class. I was notified of a shipping problem and resubmitted our school address.

    The Foldscope is amazing, we looked at a number of slides & I am so impressed with the resolution & clarity!

  17. We just received Foldscopes today!!!

    I am beyond excited to share these with my 7th grade life science students. They have been quite entertained over my excitement for this project!

    I teach at an Urban school. All of our students get federally funded free lunches because of the poverty level of the families in our community.

    My students are very bright, wonderful individuals & I love that this microscopic invention will give them the opportunity to visit “another world” I just ordered a bunch of books on microscopy to stock our classroom library.

    My students will be posting new discoveries soon.

  18. Robertlowejr says:

    To the foldscope team:
    I am a 68 year old retired individual. It has been a great pleasure being part of the foldscope project from the earliest notices and application through the arrival, assembly, and first uses. I bought plastic slides and looked at many wonderful things. Every step has been easy on my young mind and my old fingers and eyes.
    It has been a joy and pleasure to talk with people about the FoldScope and its dedicated and talented team. Everything has worked for me right up to the point of wanting more.
    The direct result has been my purchase of an Omax Digital Compound Binocular LED Microscope with power to x 2000 and USB connection to my computer. My exploration is only two weeks along yet the effect has been to offer a whole set of new points of view. It is a very different thing to see pictures of microscope slides than to bring them into focus for oneself.
    The latest such radical change in my sense of Point of View was upon seeing the earth from my first sky dive.
    My lifelong friend, Forrest Markham, retired to Charleston, Oregon, near Coos Bay and he has a great interest in microscopes. I have sent him my two FoldScopes and asked him to sit in my place, and to use and introduce these wonderful tools into his environment and communities.
    I have authorized his use of my Username and password. It seems the next best thing I can offer beyond my continued interest and any help I may offer for the next steps.
    Thanks again to one and all for the wonder of this idea.
    Robert Lowe

  19. Niramay Gogate says:

    I saw just now saw your video. I can imagine what people would have thought after seeing the 50cent microscope. It is a great video.
    I thank you for one more thing ; I could get subtitles in Marathi(my mother tongue) which was another good experience.

  20. Heshsham Abdul Basit says:


    We at Easy Way Science, India also assembled it. It is awesome and a huge potential for crowd funding R & D in this area.

    Looking forward to receive more such innovations

    Thanks and regards,


  21. Heshsham Abdul Basit says:

    We need some guidance in correct usage. Also how do I post pictures here I have taken ? I am unable to login.



  22. aakriti says:

    i want to order some foldscopes what should i do?

  23. heshsham says:

    @aakriti have you used foldscope earlier, did you attend the workshop this month ?

  24. Mark Mantoani says:

    Hi, I’m a Biology teacher from Santa Rosa, Ca. Read about your foldscopes in the New Yorker and went to the Explore website. I’m very interested in Citizen Science and would love to use them with my students. How do I start? Is it possible to order? Thanks so much.

  25. Pranami says:

    I attended the Foldscope workshop in Guwahati on 17th December. But I do not have the foldscope unique identification sticker. So I’m not able to register here and upload my findings. Is there any way by which I can do so ?

    1. Manu Prakash says:

      Here is a code you could use “001 69EF 4BB9”
      Looking forward to reading your post on the website.


  26. Manu Prakash says:

    @HeshShem: can you create a login and share your work with kids in schools in Delhi on the site. Use the login ID code I listed above.


  27. Rita Jensen says:

    I am traveling to Senegal with a group from Rotary International to help set up science labs in schools. How can I get some of your Foldscopes?

  28. Pranami says:

    I tried logging in by using the code you gave 001 69EF 4BB9, but it appears as the code is “not in correct format”

  29. Manu Prakash says:

    See @Pranami: the code should be “0001 69EF 4BB9” – give it a try and let me know.


  30. Manu Prakash says:

    @Rita Jensen: please send an email with shipping address to


  31. Jean Handwerk Lee says:

    I have been living in Indonesia for 15 years and will be returning this spring. I would like to take one or more Foldscopes there with me. Is it possible to order any?

  32. esther says:

    I’d like to buy telescope to donate for kids around me. It will be good experience for kids to understand science. How I can order ?

  33. Holden says:

    How can I purchase the foldscopes?

  34. Thanks for your interest. It is not currently possible to purchase the foldscope, but that will be changing in the coming months as production begins.

  35. Mary Oppenheimer says:

    please let me know when and how I can purchase some foldscopes for my grandson’s 6th grade class.

    1. ckurihara says:

      You can pre-order through our website, now, for delivery in August, 2017:

  36. aakriti dubey says:

    i need some foldscopes as i want to distribute it to some govenment school childrens who never had an opportunity to even see a foldscope.
    we have organised a workshop for these children as we had just 8 foldscopes we were not able to give it to each of them to explore but the children as well as the students were so excited to see the foldscope and explore new things.
    how can i order the same?

    1. ckurihara says:

      Yes, please visit our website: where you can pre-order for delivery in August, 2017.

  37. Nils says:

    How can I order on?

  38. chapchapshooterske says:

    This is great. Where and how can I get a foldscope?

  39. ckurihara says:

    Please go here
    where you can pre-order for delivery in August, 2017.

    1. pstinson71 says:

      I understand that the August 2017 delivery date has been delayed. I am hoping that the North America shipments will be going out soon (I received a message to expect them in mid-October). I am a teacher in Saskatchewan, Canada. I have not yet received a tracking number for my order – hopefully this week!

  40. Alat139 says:

    I left this comment on ‘Getting Started’ but not sure how that gets a reply so forgive me if I repeat it here:
    Yesterday I received my long awaited Foldscope. I followed the assembly and first use videos by Honomi Ijima. Thanks for the clear instructions.
    I have two questions.
    1 In the magnetic rings/lens pack there were three magnets and TWO lens. Honomi mentioned one circular lens. What is the function of the second lens which is fixed to square flexible material similar to the magnets?
    2 Looking at the Fern Rhizome through the Foldscope for the first time the image is spectacular but spoilt by dirt(?) on the lens. I have followed the recommended cleaning regime over and over again but the dirt(?) cannot be removed. This is not dirt on the slide. I have found this problem without a slide in place What can I do?

  41. Rakshith says:

    Just received the foldscope. I’m highly thrilled as I was able to Assemble it and also focus the premade slides and even onion peel.
    Thank you Manu Praksh and team 🙂

  42. Mansimar Kaur says:

    Just finished assembling my foldscope. It is amazing. Thank you so much Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski and the rest of the team. Can’t wait to explore the microcosmos. 😁
    Mansimar Kaur

  43. ckurihara says:

    @ ALAT139 The extra lens is just that – an extra – in case you lose one. They both should separate from the magnets – so pull them apart and keep the one in your box and put the other in the Foldscope.

    As for the ‘dirt’ sometimes aberrations in our own lens (our own eye) can look like the lens is spoiled. Do you still see it when you put it on your phone?

  44. Lee Junghyun says:

    Dear all
    I’m Korean elemantary teacher.
    I known foldscope from my friend lives in U.S.A.
    But it’s hard to get them.
    My friend helped that I get the foldscope.
    I’m suprised its performance and usefulness.
    Thanks to Manu Prakash and his friends.

  45. Dhanalakshmi says:

    Hi everybody.

    I am unable to focus blood smear in 140x. RBCs look very small. I need 1000x magnification. What should I do.
    I want to demonstrate field veterinary doctors to diagnose at field level. They want to see it.
    Please help.

    1. SkyFromFoldscope says:

      As of this writing, the Foldscope has only a 140X lens. If you attach a phone to a Foldscope, you can use the phone’s zoom feature to increase the magnification.

      I’m sorry if this is not feasible for the veterinarians you mentioned.

  46. Vaishali Handa says:

    Today I introduced foldscope to few teachers of other school . They were so happy to see such kind of microscope and willing to work on it …
    Thanks to Manu sir ..

  47. ibfoldscope says:

    how to make foldscope more magnification

  48. Brenda X says:

    I just got my foldscope and I find odd I too can’t focus blood smears, seeing I can see them perfectly in 40x in the lab’s microscope, considering this lens has 140x it should be able to focus it well, neither this changes on my phone , in fact in the phone it looks worse. Has anyone found a way to fix this?

  49. haris says:

    Namaste to everyone. From Nepal. excited to join this wonderful cosmos. I am a teacher and trying to make the student fall in love with science and this is the right tool.

  50. bpayan3 says:

    Today I introduced Foldscope to my 7th-grade students. They are so amazed and inspire by this amazing tool! “Foldscope Raffle”

  51. bpayan3 says:

    Today I introduced Foldscope to my 7th-grade students. They are so amazed and inspire by this amazing tool!

  52. bpayan3 says:

    “Foldscope Raffle”

  53. Anuj Sanker0818 says:

    I m Anuj from Darjeeling ,India.
    I received a foldscope yesterday and I just finished assembling it. So I m very much excited to go with it and start the journey with this awesome instrument.

    Hoping to learn and discover more !

  54. Anuj Sanker0818 says:

    I m Anuj from Darjeeling ,India.
    I received a foldscope yesterday and I just finished assembling it. So I m very much excited to go with it and start the journey with this awesome instrument.
    Hoping to learn and discover more !

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