This 50-Cent Origami Microscope can Diagnose Malaria (and all kinds of stuff)!

This is too cool not to share! Manu Prakash and his team have been developing a new kind of microscope which could change medicine forever. All over the world, the modern microscope is a thing of technological pride, and this incredible device that this team has invented creates the exact same results for a fraction of the price, and has huge implications for the developing countries of the world, and even the modern ones.

Don’t take my word for it though, take a look and leave your thoughts in the comments!

What does it mean for us? Well, besides it just being a fun science experiment for kids everywhere, imagine what it would be like if you could diagnose your own sickness? Or even the sickness of your family or friends just by taking a swab from their cheek and putting it in your 50-cent origami to take a look.

The most important part – make sure you know what you’re looking at when you look at it, or at least look it up afterwards so that the diagnosis is accurate :)


  1. This is so incredible that I don’t believe it. I am a lifelong laboratory technologist with a degree in microbiology. I estimate that about 99.9% of what it takes to diagnose by microscope is to recognize what is not possible. Resolution, for instance; the limits of resolution make everything magnified beyond those limits useless for study or any conclusions. Physicians are the least skilled in microscopy. Laboratory professionals are skilled in the manipulations required to adjust light source focus and microscope magnification. It is not just a matter of looking and diagnosing. It is to know what is diagnostic and what is not. If you look at a DNA pattern in any form, you could not find the markers that are significant. Same for microscopy. Bacteriology, for instance is more biochemical, serological, and intuitive than morphology, microscopy, and cost of instrumentation. Show a culture plate of fecal swabs and the vast number of colonies of various morphology lose you. With the knowledge of what to expect and the appearance of the significant forms can lead to enough testing to identify the organism. You cannot determine genus and species from morphology alone, let alone pathogenicity of what you find. Turn loose of the dream of simplifying complex issues. Do not oversimplify the complex or over complicate the simple. Both are errors of judgement, not the power of magnification or the assumed skill of the simpleton.

    1. Thank you for your reasoning, understanding, and level-headed explanation! It is greatly needed.