Innovation That Matters

Science for all with portable, origami paper microscope


Foldscope Instruments’ foldable, portable, one dollar paper microscope makes science accessible to everyone.

Designed and released in 2014, the Foldscope microscope was tested by 50,000 users in 135 countries. Springwise covered the launch of the beta project which was so successful that the co-creators set up Foldscope Instruments to further worldwide distribution and develop additional instruments. Co-invented by a Stanford PhD student in PrakashLab, the variety of uses of the paper microscope and amount of feedback provided by testers was phenomenal. Beta testers contributed to the creation of the Microcosmos, the Foldscope online social community dedicated to sharing knowledge, enthusiasm for science and curiosity about the world.

Foldscope Instruments’ goal is to encourage exploration by making a microscope as easily accessible as a pencil for all stages of education. Using micro-optics and flat manufacturing to produce the microscope at a cost to user of only one US Dollar, Foldscope is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter as the first step in its next project of reaching one million new scientists throughout 2017. Supporters can buy individual kits, classroom packages and sets to donate to schools and other educational organizations.

Making education, and particularly science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), more accessible is a key goal for educators worldwide. In Singapore, a mobile tech lab travels to students, and a build-your-own speaker teaches about sound, electromagnetics, frequency and more. What other areas of STEM study could be improved by increasing the amount of hands-on work?



Download PDF