Researchers 3D Print Smartphone Compatible Microscope Lenses for 1 Penny

Share this Article

Every day researchers are finding new ways to utilize the wonders of 3D printing to bring about substantial change within various medical fields. The majority of 3D printing applications in the medical field have been derm-2related to prosthetic devices, 3d printed organ models, and even the 3D printing of actual human tissue. 

This latest discovery, by Australian National University (ANU) researchers, strays from the typical applications above.  They have used a 3D printer to create a tiny microscope lens, which can be used for the detection of skin diseases, such as melanoma, and other forms of cancer. A typical dermascope which is common in any office of a dermatologist, costs roughly $300. The researchers were able to print this lens for approximately $0.01. The lens is then attached to the camera of a smartphone or tablet. In this case they used a Nexus 4 Android based phone, along with a tiny battery, and two LEDs. The total cost of the setup was approximately $3.35. As the relatively simple installation of the setup is perfected, doctors will easily be able to attach this device to their iPad or other tablet. Applications could then be developed which could analyze the magnified images, providing a more accurate diagnosis on spot.

derm-feat

The researchers used the idea that a droplet of water can bend light and magnify objects which they are close to. They decided to try and mimic the water drop characteristics, using a gel-like polymer substance called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). They were able to eject drops of the PDMS out of a 3D printer, and onto a microscope glass. They then baked the substance at 70 degrees Celsius until it hardened. Once hardened, they repeated the process one more time; this time flipping the glass after the PDMS is added, and allowing gravity to form it into a perfect parabola.

“What I did was to systematically fine-tune the curvature that’s formed by a simple droplet with the help of gravity, and without any molds. It’s a low cost and easy lens-making recipe. I’m really excited that it opens up lens fabrication technology.” stated Steve Lee from ANU’s Research School of Engineering.

Every year, tens of thousands of cases of skin cancer go undetected, especially in developing countries. Although the magnification of about 160X is quite impressive for these 3D printed lenses, they do not have as good a resolution as those used by dermatologists today. Having said this, there could be numerous applications for such lenses in developing nations that are incapable of footing the bill for a typical dermascope device.

The researchers are looking to commercialize their 3D printed lenses, making them available sometime this year. Discuss this accomplishment at the 3DPB forum thread. (Image credit: Stuart Hay)

Share this Article


Recent News

Northwestern University: Researchers Produce Large Scale 3D Printer & Control Heat with HARP Technology

Additive Manufacturing Collaboration: Ai Build & WEBER Offer Advanced Large-Scale 3D Printing Solutions



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Briefs: October 10, 2019

We’re talking about events and business today in 3D Printing News Briefs. In November, Cincinnati Inc. is presenting at FABTECH, and Additive Manufacturing Technologies and XJet are heading off to...

Roboze Improving Quality of 3D Printed Parts with Pre-Drying and Heating Equipment

It’s October, which means that this year’s formnext is fast approaching. From November 19-22, thousands of people will descend on Frankfurt to network, see what’s new in the AM industry,...

Cubicure & Evonik Develop One Component Resin System For Flexible Polyesters Through Hot Lithography

Cubicure and Evonik continue on within the 3D printing realm, leading the evolution of materials science with research and development of polyester resins. Focusing on additive manufacturing processes, this joint...

Formnext Start-up Challenge Announces Five Winning 3D Printing Startups

We’re several days into September now, which means that it’s only two short months until this year’s Formnext exhibition and conference in Germany. But before its November event, Formnext holds...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!