How much does your average microscope cost? $45, $65, $165?  Even if you purchased it from an online retailer such as Amazon, the cost of becoming a budding scientist these days is not cheap.  That is why when someone comes up with a really cheap way of constructing something really useful, out of another already useful device, people should sit up and pay attention!

$10 Digital Microscope

Instructables user Yoshinok has come up with a low cost solution to an otherwise expensive problem.  He has accomplished this by turning a few pieces of Plexiglas, a laser pointer and an Apple iPhone into a highly capable digital microscope. The entire cost of the project was approximately $10US.  The results of this MacGyver type gadget are quite amazing, as no doubt you will agree.

In the instructional video, Yoshinok appears to be using an Apple iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s, but any iPhone, or even an iPad for that matter, would likely work just as well as a makeshift digital microscope. The magnification device uses a focus lend from a low cost laser pointer.  The iPhone and items being inspected are supported by Plexiglas slides and the whole thing is fashioned around a wooden base, with a few bolts to hold it all together.  When the entire setup is complete, the device is capable of 175x magnification, which is strong enough to study individual plant cells. Amazing!

He notes that the microscope stands could be used in schools that, unfortunately, do not have access to funding in their science budget for something as expensive as a digital microscope.  But, given the number of students walking around with smartphones these days, it makes sense to give this a try instead.

[Image via: instrucables]