For avid smartphone photography enthusiasts, there are plenty of options for additional lenses that can extend the range of mobile image capturing, but until now, taking microscopic images with a cell phone has been off the table.
But thanks to the work of Thomas Larson, a recent mechanical engineering graduate, taking microscopic pictures and videos can soon be as simple as applying a tiny micro lens to the camera on your mobile phone and clicking the shutter button.
The Micro Phone Lens, measuring just 1/4" in diameter, is designed to stick onto the lens of most cellphones (recommended 5 megapixel camera resolution), and easily capture images and videos ranging from 15X magnification up to 60X (using the phone's digital zoom feature).
The design of the little lens is said to be a product of a "patent pending platinum catalyzed silicone technology" that yields an optical quality identical to that of glass, and yet is impervious to scratching and can be cleaned with soap and water. It self-adheres to the camera lens and can be installed or removed quickly and easily. Once the lens is on the phone, all you need to do is focus your image and click the shutter.
The Micro Phone Lens is currently in a crowdfunding phase on Kickstarter, and has gone well past its original goal of raising $5000. If you'd like to be one of the first to pick up one for your phone, a $15 pledge will secure your ability to soon take microscopic photos with your mobile.
Just imagine the ranks of future scientists that could be filled by giving out these little lenses to kids, so they can be exploring the wonders of the natural world through a microscope, instead of playing endless rounds of Angry Birds or Candy Crush.