Foldscope is a real microscope that’s made of paper

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One year for Christmas, I received a Tasco microscope set. I loved that thing. It came in a wooden box that had tweezers, eye droppers, glass slides, etc. I would spend hours “playing with that microscope to explore strange new worlds that were too tiny to see with my own eyes. One bad thing about a traditional microscope like the one I had as a child, is that they are too bulky and awkward to take along to other locations to explore different miniature worlds. The Foldscope is a microscope that has been designed to be as portable as it is affordable.

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The Foldscope microscope was invented by two Standford University PhD students and is made of a heavy duty water-proof paper and comes in a small metal box with tools for collecting samples, processing samples, preparing slides and collecting data. You can use the Foldscope by itself, or you can use it with a smartphone’s camera using the included universal phone lens mount. The microscope itself has to be assembled and features a 140x, 2um resolution lens.

You can buy your own Foldscope for $39.99. Find out more at and Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Foldscope is a real microscope that’s made of paper”

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  2. So, it costs .50cents to a dollar to manufacture … The creator says in interviews that it could help get the young and the young at heart around the globe interested in science … I concur. It’s a wonderful idea.
    Yet, at $39, I cannot in good conscience, nor afford to send my three young children into the wild with one. So, why does it get so much publicity as an affordable unit? That’s my question. I am inclined to conclude that all the hype about manufacturing cost is relative to giving these to persons in the developing world … And said hype also provides great exposure for them to sell these at $39. Sad that many kids in the so-called developed world will go without. I don’t foresee parents by and large paying this price.

    1. Benjamin C Kirkup

      If you go to the Foldscope website, you can find that they are not nearly $0.50 but they are also not $39. If you get a ‘deluxe kit’ with a metal box, etc, then that’s the price. If you buy 20, they are ~$2 each. At $2, you can send them with the three kids; and have three more in reserve. The only problem is you will have 17 in reserve.

      So it isn’t quite hype; but I understand the frustration.

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