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.
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