Smart phones continue to get even smarter with the new technology developed by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Australian National University. By adding a small, lentil-sized lens, a smart phone can be transformed into a microscope. Not only can this lens transform the phone, but it also performs as a high-level medical imaging device.

The transformational lens cost only a few cents and it is thought that this small optical lens the potential to revolutionize medicine and its delivery in developing countries and in the remotest regions of the world. Consider that traditional microscopes have not truly transformed in the past four centuries but now this device provides a mobile, affordable, medical device.

Smartphone Lenses

Smartphone Lenses

The lenses are fashioned from polymer that form into natural droplets. The polymer is similar to that used for contact lenses and breast implants. The material isn’t prone to breaking or scratching and this makes it ideally suited to serve as the lens on a smartphone.

After attaching the polymer droplet to the smartphone’s camera lens and pairing it with light, it was found the lens could provide magnification of up to 160 times and has an imaging resolution of four micrometers.  The researchers miniaturized the microscope making it infinitely smaller and more portable. Consider that traditional microscopes are placed in a static location in a lab or medical facility and you can see the benefits of this portable device and its uses in remote areas of the globe.

The so-called “smart microscope” could also be used by those in the agricultural industry to check for pests on the crops – those that might be virtually invisible to the naked eye.

UKA Optics manufactures and designs lenses and optical lenses for industrial, medical, high tech and electronic applications.