Article in full below. Credit: Rockefeller University Seek Magazine.
Sometimes the view through a microscope is too good to keep to yourself.
Fortunately, it turns out that smart phones, with their integrated cameras and high-resolution screens, make pretty good devices for sharing microscope images— all you need is the right adapter to align the optics.
Du Cheng, a Rockefeller M.D- Ph.D. student, has created just such an adapter. He made his first prototype out of styrofoam while still an undergraduate. At the time, it was a struggle to work the awkward bolt-on cameras attached to classroom microscopes.
Since then his devices, which he calls LabCams, have evolved into molded plastic shells with integrated eyepieces, custom-designed for several models of iPhone. The contraption can dock to nearly any microscope. Once in place, the phone’s camera takes over, providing crystal-clear, recordable views of worms, flies, bacteria, tissue samples, or any other diminutive object a biologist might be interested in. No squinting required.
Cheng and his labmates rely on the LabCam to document the behavior of the tiny nematode worm C. elegans, but a growing community of users on and off campus have captured images of everything from stem cells to rat sperm. They’re even co-opting apps like FaceTime to share findings in real time.
Copied with permission from Rockefeller University.
"Seek is Rockefeller’s research magazine. It goes beyond reporting on results and breakthroughs to examine the underlying drivers of discovery – the people, ideas, and conversations that spark important scientific turning points. By covering bioscience at Rockefeller and the researchers at its forefront, Seek tells the stories of how new knowledge comes to be."
Ariel Waldman, host of the Offworld series, shares her favorite things of the year, including tech and gear she found indispensable on her recent trip to Antarctica, including our LabCam.
You may not be working in the harsh conditions she did, but the LabCam iPhone adapter makes capturing and sharing microscope images easy and precise.
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