Instead of lugging a heavy microscope into the field, doctors and nurses in remote regions may have a more portable choice — a lightweight microscope that replaces lenses with holograms. Researchers at UCLA announced a prototype dual-mode microscope that’s lightweight, costs between $50 and $100 to produce and is similar in size to a banana. Like a hologram that uses interfering rays to create an image, this device shines light on a sample where its sensor chip (apparently also found in iPhones and BlackBerrys) and a cloud-based software program analyze the interference pattern and reconstruct an image of the sample. Since it’s dual-mode, both large samples and small samples can be analyzed through processes called “transmission” and “reflection,” and doctors could potentially use their laptops or smartphones to access the images remotely. Although still considered a prototype, researchers think the development has the opportunity to revolutionize health care by allowing doctors to test things like water, blood and food. Check out the full PR after the break.
It may not look like it, but that sleek black thing pictured above is actually a microscope. Designed by engineers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, this little guy boasts a 5.3mm optical length, rendering it slim enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet powerful enough to deliver images at a scanner-like resolution of five micrometers, over a wide surface area. Fraunhofer’s researchers achieved this balance by essentially tossing out the manual on traditional microscope design. Whereas most devices slowly scan areas and construct images on a piecemeal basis, this handheld uses several small imaging channels and a collection of tiny lenses to record equal sized fragments of a given surface. Unlike conventional scanner microscopes, all of these 300 x 300 square micrometer imaging channels are captured at the same time. With a single swipe, then, users can record 36 x 24 square mm shots of matchbox-sized objects, without even worrying about blurring the images with their shaky hands. The prototype is still two years away from going into production, but once it does, engineers say it could help doctors scan patients for skin cancer more easily, while also allowing bureaucrats to quickly confirm the authenticity of official documents. We can only imagine what it could do for Pac-Man. Full PR after the break.
Small is beautiful, but only when you can see it. Specifically, we’re talking about nanostructures — including cellular organelles and nanoelectronic circuits — around the order of 100nm. The problem is with a microscope, visible light only takes us down to a resolution of 200nm at best, and it’s not always ideal to use conventional methods to boost the resolution — you’d either have to dope the subject with fluorescent dye or use highly delicate equipment. Thankfully, the University of Twente has come up with a new type of lens that would solve this problem: in a nutshell, a nanoparticle is placed on one side of the gallium phosphide lens, while the other side — disorderedly etched with acid — takes in a precisely modulated laser beam and scatters it into a focal point of your choice. Sure, this sounds bizarre and ironic, but apparently the modulation is controlled in such a way that the scattered beam focuses much tighter than an ordinary beam would using an ordinary lens. Have a look at the comparison shots of some gold nanoparticles after the break — that’s some sweet 97nm resolution right there for ya.
Are you ******* kidding me? Apple, you need to moderate these add-on makers as brutally and ruthlessly as you moderate your app store. Clearly there are better things to attach to your iPhone 4 than a Microscope slash Note Checker.
Say what? Who thinks of this? Who stays up at night, brainstorming, and comes up with a Microscope and Note Checker combo. What’s the connection here? It’s a 60x microscope, which is too much for photographing ants and too little for photographing bacteria, and they just added a LED light to it just in case you want to check some… notes?
Let’s allow the inventors of this glorious gadget to explain themselves in marketing speak:
“ It comes with White LED for using under Dim/Dark environment, and Note Detector LED for watching the Water Mark of the Paper Note. Get this Useful Gear Today to Enjoy More fun for your iPhone 4!”
While Android 2.3 Gingerbread will not be as groundbreaking as Android 2.2 Froyo, any new update to an operating system is always welcome and will definitely go under the microscope of users. While no exact launch date of the update has been released, Google tweeted over the weekend that “our cafes are baking something sweet”, tantalizing your virtual taste buds with lots of fully baked and tasty-looking gingerbread Android men. Will this coming week be when Gingerbread is finally released? Perhaps, and even if that happens, it will still take some time before various carriers start to roll out Gingerbread-specific updates for their respective smartphones.