iPhone microscope helps out the naked eye


“There’s an app for that…”, or so the saying goes, and we are quite sure that iPhone as well as Android owners have far more installed apps than stock apps on their respective handsets. While Apple might seem to be on the backpedal when it comes to their iPhone at this point in time in terms of market share compared to the expanding Android footprint, do bear in mind that Apple’s App Store is a well respected cash cow for the Cupertino firm, so to speak, as the App Store still outsells Google’s Play Store by a rather hefty ratio in comparison – and we all know that there is money at the end of the apps rainbow. What happens when you take into account hardware accessories as well? This is where this unique iPhone microscope accessory would come in handy for the medical field.

An international team of researchers recently reported in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that they managed to make use of a very simple microscope which was self-constructed, where thanks to a lens that costs just $8, it has been placed over the iPhone 4S’s camera and held in place with some sticky tape, and it was successfully used to detect the eggs of soil-transmitted parasitic worms, otherwise known as helminths, if you want to get technical about it. When compared to the results shown by a proper microscope when diagnosing children in rural Tanzania, it was discovered that for some nematodes, the iPhone microscope is more than capable of detecting worm eggs.

Well, what can we say about that? It would be nice if this makeshift solution was able to measure up to the kind of performance found in actual microscopes, but I guess that further refinements need to be made to ensure that this will happen sometime down the road.


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