We've seen devices that let you attach your smartphone to a microscope, but they require you to have access to a microscope in the first place. What if you don't? Well, that's where the MicrobeScope comes in. It's a portable 800x microscope that works with newer iPhones – or just with the naked eye.
The MicrobeScope doesn't use glass slides like a regular microscope. Instead, users place samples directly on its illuminated stage. Its LED light source is powered by two AAA batteries.
It also lacks any adjustment knobs – it has a fixed-focus lens, and just the one level of magnification. Needless to say, it might not become standard equipment in any science labs, but could be a lot of fun for kids or curious-minded adults.
The user's iPhone (4s or higher) sits on a platform above the microscope, which keeps the phone's camera lens aligned with the eyepiece. Users then just start snapping stills or recording video of bacteria, pollen, algae, or whatever else is on tap.
Washington state-based 4D Optical is now raising production funds for the MicrobeScope, on Kickstarter. At the present time, a pledge of US$115 will get you one, when and if they're ready to go.
If you're interested in shopping around, some (sort of) similar products include the Mini Microscope for iPhone and the ProScope Micro Mobile – although they top out at 60x and 80x magnification, respectively.
You can see a demo of the MicrobeScope in the pitch video below.