Smart Micro Optics, a spin-off from the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), has developed two lenses called Blips, that for the small price of $17 transform a mobile device’s camera into a digital microscope that can magnify subjects up to 30 times, or 80 times using the zoom of the camera.
With these lenses, the average user is introduced to a new world of teeny tiny things. The magnification allows one to take high-resolution pictures or videos of insects as small as a dust mite. With the help of a prepared slide, one can even count the red blood cells in a blood sample. Insane! These are the thinnest microscope lenses for smartphones and tablets in the world, adding a mere 1.5mm to the thickness of the device. I mean the camera is the size of a lentil. I don’t think anyone is going to complain about how much space it is taking up.
“Our dream is to put a high-performance microscope in everyone’s pocket, opening up opportunities for people to learn science or simply having fun in discovering firsthand the world at the micro-scale,” Andrea Antonini, who co-founded Smart Micro Optics with his former IIT boss Tommaso Fellin, tells ZDNet.
Of course since the technology is patent-pending, I couldn’t get much information about the construct of the lenses. We do know that the lenses are made of various kinds of plastic, providing better refractive index than silicone, as used in much of the products on the market today. The top surface of the lenses are designed to be non-sticky, to fight dust problems. The lenses adhere to the camera glass through electrostatic attraction. You can keep the lens attached permanently to the camera, or attached with mobility, ready to use when needed.
Before turning to investors the creators really want to see how customers react to the product, and create some buzz. At $17, I think they will get more than enough buzz to support crowdfunding.
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