Foldscope Promises Microscopes for Everyone!

aquascope

The folks over at PrakashLab at Standford University have come up with an amazingly simple microscope design called the Foldscope, which could make microscopes feasible in even the most remote areas.

The Foldscope is an optical microscope that can be made out of paper and printed components, much like a piece of origami. It can magnify up to 2,000X, costs less than a dollar to manufacture, and can provide a sub-micron resolution of 800nm. It requires no external power, fits in a pocket, and could survive being dropped off the top of a 3 story building!

It takes advantage of new technologies that make it possible to print micro-optics, micro-electronics, micro-flexures, and even micro-fluidics. Just take a look at the following bill of materials and diagram explaining the mechanism.

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Panning GoPro Mount Catches Bad Drivers On Video

gopro-mount

[Chris] must live in a neighborhood with a lot of bad drivers. He built this motorized panning GoPro mount so he can record and share his neighbors’ mobile misadventures with the world. He started with a custom machined aluminum frame. The frame clips onto a suction cup mount grab bar. The stock GoPro mount sits on a machined HDPE puck, which is rotated by a NEMA 11 stepper motor. [Chris] used a Pololu A4988 stepper motor driver to handle the coils. Initially he used an Arduino to generate pulses for the stepper driver. A true Hackaday fan though, he decided that an Arduino was overkill, and broke out a 555 timer. A DPDT switch powers up the 555 and controls the stepper driver’s direction input. The electronics all fit neatly in a small project box which doubles as a hand controller.

While setting up for a test drive [Chris] found that he could only lock down one suction cup on his car’s curved sunroof. Considering the light weight of the GoPro, one suction cup is probably enough. Just to be safe, [Chris] added a rope leash down through the sunroof.

We think the stepper motor was a good choice for this project. Since the motor is direct drive, there are no gears to strip. The stepper’s holding torque also keeps the camera pointed in the right direction at highway speeds. With no wires directly connecting the GoPro to the car, [Chris] can spin the camera 360 degrees without worrying about tangles. Verifying the camera’s direction is just a matter of looking up through the car’s sunroof. Click past the break to see [Chris's] camera mount in action. 

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