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A 50-cent microscope that folds like origami

Perhaps you’ve punched out a paper doll or folded an origami swan?


TED Fellow Manu Prakash and his team have created a microscope made of paper that’s just as easy to fold and use. A sparkling demo that shows how this invention could revolutionize healthcare in developing countries … and turn almost anything into a fun, hands-on science experiment.

The Foldscope is a fully functional microscope that can be laser- or die-cut out of paper for around 50 cents.

This bookmark-sized microscope can be assembled in minutes, includes no mechanical moving parts, packs in a flat configuration, is extremely rugged and can be incinerated after to safely dispose of infectious biological samples. With minor optics modifications, the microscope can be designed for brightfield, multi-flourescence or projection microscopy, or specialized to identify specific pathogens.