Your Phone’s Camera = Microscope


Phone and tablet cameras are lifesavers! We snap photos of people and places we enjoy but if you are like me you also use it to capture things like take out menus or where you parked at the mall. Or it can even serve as a rudimentary scanner in some cases. Popular Mechanics decided to publish another use for these cameras which we think you will enjoy.

Hall Davidson, a former math teacher, decided that tablets and phones provide a perfect vehicle for a microscope. Davidson, an employee of Discovery Education, decided to visit his local hardware store and come up with the necessary components to create magnification. A rubber grommet and a jeweler’s mini microscope glued to an iPad did the trick. Popular Mechanics slightly revised his solution to avoid glue on the device. So here you go, straight from the article – a microscope for your phone or tablet for less than $10.


A) Case: Look for a thin, hard case for your device. iPad cases are available online for as little as $5.
B) Half-inch rubber grommet: available in hardware stores for under $1.
C) Jeweler’s mini microscope: Also known as a currency microscope, this tool is commonly used to detect imperfections in jewelry. Look for a unit that incorporates an LED; the cheapest ones cost around $4.
D) Superglue


1) Before gluing, center the grommet on the case over the camera lens opening.
2) Got the position right? Apply glue to half the grommet and attach it. Assuming you’re using an iPad, the glued part of the grommet should be opposite the curved edge of the device. (The grommet will not be completely flush.)
3) Once the glue dries, insert the eyepiece into the grommet.
4) Open the camera app and turn on the scope’s LED to start exploring the microverse.

TIP: Zoom from inside the app, and also adjust the view by sliding the eyepiece in and out of the grommet.

One review or comment

jmb98115 Says: October 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

C) “Loupe” is the word you’re fumbling around for, a jeweler’s loupe.

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