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  1. #1
    JockBoy87 Alnitak's Avatar
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    Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Infectious diseases such as kill millions every year in third world countries. In the absence of antigen/antibody tests, a microscope is sometimes the only way to confirm diagnoses of bacterial, protozoan, and other microparasitic infections. Heavy expensive microscopes make this impossible for sick people in the poorest places in the world.

    Manu Prakash, a professor at Stanford University and his students have developed a microscope out of a flat sheet of paper, a watch battery, LED, and optical units that when folded together, much like origami, creates a functional instrument with the resolution of 800 nanometers basically magnifying an object up to 2,000 times.

    Super-Cheap Paper Microscope Could Save Millions of Lives
    While 800 nm is not good enough to see viruses, it can still see many dreaded diseases caused by bacteria such as tuberculosis and protozoans such as malaria.




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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    That's incredibly good news.

    I would like to see the cost of equipment brought down in the richest places in the world too. Moore's Law should apply to the equipment in my hospital too.

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    I think is wonderful news and I hope it is a great advance in getting medical care to people. However, I guess I am getting too cynical in my old my old age. My first thought was this will get suppressed and become unavailable because it would take mega profits away from giant corporations.


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    JockBoy87 Alnitak's Avatar
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    That's incredibly good news.

    I would like to see the cost of equipment brought down in the richest places in the world too. Moore's Law should apply to the equipment in my hospital too.
    Health care costs are going to continue to climb and become a greater portion of our economy. In the US it accounts for just under a fifth of our GDP. The reasons aren't difficult to pin down. Life expectancy is advancing, so cancer rates are through the roof. Diagnostic tools and treatments for all kinds of diseases and disorders are proliferating as well, so quantitatively more medicine is being used. The tools are getting more precise and more advanced. Their costs aren't going down, they are going up because quality is improving. In the old days for cancer you were sent home with pain meds to die. Now there is histology, imaging, radiation, and uber expensive drugs.

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    JockBoy87 Alnitak's Avatar
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by cityboy-stl View Post
    I think is wonderful news and I hope it is a great advance in getting medical care to people. However, I guess I am getting too cynical in my old my old age. My first thought was this will get suppressed and become unavailable because it would take mega profits away from giant corporations.
    It won't be used in developed countries because good microscopes are not difficult to get. In practice this instrument is probably imprecise and difficult to use, but it is better than nothing. Health corporations have no access to poor parts of Africa, but non-profits such as the Carter Center and Medecins sans Frontieres do. I think this 50 cent scope will be quite useful.
    Last edited by Alnitak; March 30th, 2014 at 08:47 AM.

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Alnitak View Post
    Health care costs are going to continue to climb and become a greater portion of our economy. In the US it accounts for just under a fifth of our GDP. The reasons aren't difficult to pin down. Life expectancy is advancing, so cancer rates are through the roof. Diagnostic tools and treatments for all kinds of diseases and disorders are proliferating as well, so quantitatively more medicine is being used. In the old days for cancer you were sent home with pain meds to die. Now there is histology, imaging, radiation, and uber expensive drugs.
    Yeah but those things should be halving in cost every year. In the old days you needed a thousand engineers with slide rules to figure out the trajectory of a rocket launch. Now my iPhone could do it. Why shouldn't that apply to medicine too?

    You've found a great example of cost cutting for the third world but those principles should apply here too.

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    JockBoy87 Alnitak's Avatar
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Yeah but those things should be halving in cost every year. In the old days you needed a thousand engineers with slide rules to figure out the trajectory of a rocket launch. Now my iPhone could do it. Why shouldn't that apply to medicine too?
    Well like I said. The drugs and instruments are improving, so the cost of treatment isn't going to go down because of patent expiration or the economy of scale.

    You've found a great example of cost cutting for the third world but those principles should apply here too.
    This isn't cost cutting. It is introducing a device that they did not have access to before.

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    I don't understand how that thing can focus. It's nearly flat as a pancake, so how does whatever it uses for a lens resolve anything by putting it directly to your eye?

    Even a magnifying glass has to be adjusted.

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    JockBoy87 Alnitak's Avatar
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeland View Post
    I don't understand how that thing can focus. It's nearly flat as a pancake, so how does whatever it uses for a lens resolve anything by putting it directly to your eye?

    Even a magnifying glass has to be adjusted.
    The strips can be manipulated to translate an up and down motion. The video demonstrates reasonable optical quality, but obviously it will never match the quality of a precision instrument.
    Last edited by Alnitak; March 30th, 2014 at 11:17 AM.

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Thanks. Now I see how it works. (Duh) Sliding each end of the paper slip toward the middle lifts the lens.

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    One of those "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" things. Well done.

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    JockBoy87 Alnitak's Avatar
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeland View Post
    Thanks. Now I see how it works. (Duh) Sliding each end of the paper slip toward the middle lifts the lens.
    The optical elements are also spaced very close together, i.e. tiny f-ratio which results in severe aberrations around the edges of the image.

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Alnitak View Post
    The optical elements are also spaced very close together, i.e. tiny f-ratio which results in severe aberrations around the edges of the image.
    Seeing the projected image from the Foldscope brought to mind a scene in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, of a view through a telescope. Dirt and colour aberration around the edge. A nice touch.

  14. #14
    JockBoy87 Alnitak's Avatar
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeland View Post
    Seeing the projected image from the Foldscope brought to mind a scene in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, of a view through a telescope. Dirt and colour aberration around the edge. A nice touch.
    Telescopes at that time didn't have field correction elements.

  15. #15
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Brilliant.

  16. #16
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Alnitak View Post
    800 nm is not good enough to see viruses
    Optical microscope technology has only recently ventured into the realm of virus-sized observation.


  17. #17
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Yeah but those things should be halving in cost every year. In the old days you needed a thousand engineers with slide rules to figure out the trajectory of a rocket launch. Now my iPhone could do it. Why shouldn't that apply to medicine too?

    You've found a great example of cost cutting for the third world but those principles should apply here too.
    It doesn't apply to medical equipment because there's not that much turnover. If hospitals were buying an entire new suite of microscopes every two years, then yes, the cost would keep dropping, but they're not.

    Although you indirectly raise an interesting possibility: how long will it be until there are tablets that can serve as microscope, thermometer, etc. -- basically a first-generation tricorder? (Today I got my temperature and pulse taken by a device being rolled over my forehead . . . . . )

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Alnitak View Post
    The optical elements are also spaced very close together, i.e. tiny f-ratio which results in severe aberrations around the edges of the image.
    I read where someone stumbled across a lens in nature which has no aberration. How fast can we duplicate it?

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  19. #19
    Bammer's Papa
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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Optical microscope technology has only recently ventured into the realm of virus-sized observation.

    Odd -- that just takes me to an image of a microscope. Let's see if this does it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/sc...cope.html?_r=0

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    It doesn't apply to medical equipment because there's not that much turnover. If hospitals were buying an entire new suite of microscopes every two years, then yes, the cost would keep dropping, but they're not.

    Although you indirectly raise an interesting possibility: how long will it be until there are tablets that can serve as microscope, thermometer, etc. -- basically a first-generation tricorder? (Today I got my temperature and pulse taken by a device being rolled over my forehead . . . . . )
    Well, let's say a billion people have doctors equipped with modern medical equipment. That leaves, what, six billion people to go shopping for? There is room in that market for innovation and cost-cutting and scale.

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    Re: Paper Microscope Magnifies Field Diagnostics

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Well, let's say a billion people have doctors equipped with modern medical equipment. That leaves, what, six billion people to go shopping for? There is room in that market for innovation and cost-cutting and scale.
    But cost-cutting and scale have very little to do with the efficiency doubling in Moore's Law.

    Besides that, it's more like two billion and five -- and the five aren't exactly customers with money to spend.

    Further, the system is stacked against cost-cutting: neither medical manufacturers nor insurance companies nor even pharmaceuticals have any interest whatsoever in finding things that will cut our costs. That's the inherent problem with a profit-driven medical system.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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