Stanford bioengineering professor Manu Prakash, PhD is on a mission. He wants to make it easy for field researchers to identify and diagnose dangerous microbial diseases like malaria, African sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis, Chagas and more.
To do that, he and his team have created the Foldscope — an inexpensive, disposable paper microscope that uses tiny spherical lenses. In addition to a low price point of 50 cents, the Foldscope is remarkably durable, waterproof and adaptable, weighs just under 9 grams, can be built in minutes, requires no external power and, since it travels as a flat, printed sheet, takes up very little space. It has the potential to be a game-changing tool in the world of medicine and microscopy.