A pocket-size microscope accessory developed by Finnish scientists will be accurate to one hundredth of a millimetre
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the leading multi-technological
applied research organisation in Northern Europe, has developed an optical
accessory that turns an ordinary camera phone into a high-resolution
microscope. The device is accurate to one hundredth of a millimetre. Among
those who will benefit from the device are the printing industry, consumers,
the security business, and even health care professionals. A new Finnish
enterprise called KeepLoop Oy and VTT are already exploring the commercial
potential of the invention. The first industrial applications and consumer
models will be released in early 2012.
The operation of the device is based on images produced by the combined effect
of an LED light and an optical lens. Various surfaces and structures can be
examined in microscopic detail and the phone’s camera used to take sharp,
high-resolution images that can be forwarded as MMS messages.
ordinary mobile phone turns into an instant microscope by attaching a thin,
magnetic microscope module in front of the camera’s normal lens. The device
fits easily in the user’s pocket, unlike conventional tubular microscopes.
plastic macro lens of the mobile phone microscope magnifies objects
effectively. The camera’s field of view is 2 x 3 millimetres. A number of LEDs
have been sunk into the outer edge of the lens, allowing objects to be
illuminated from different angles. Images illuminated from several different
angles could be used to produce 3D topographic maps, for example, with mobile
phone software. The 3D maps would be accurate to one hundredth of a millimetre.
competitive edge of the product is based on next-generation lens technology,
the compact and user-friendly structure, and customisable extra features.
mobile phone microscope is suited for examining surfaces and surroundings, for
security, health care, and even games
The mobile phone
microscope could also be used to study surface formations, especially in the
printing industry as part of quality control and in field conditions. In the
security business the device could be used, for example, to read microcode in
various logistics systems, while it is also suited for studying security
markings, and for authenticating products as genuine as part of brand
protection. The microscope is capable of detecting hidden symbols in products
that are not visible to the naked eye.
The device can also be
applied to study of the environment. Consumers could use the instant
microscope when out and about to examine the leaves of trees and plants, for
example, or study insects. Another potential application is in examining
textile structures such as strands of hair, or the fibrous structure of paper.
device also has uses in social media, and in community-based hybrid media
where traditional forms of media are used in combination with each other.
There are also several potential applications in the gaming world.
Oy is a new innovative company based in Tampere, Finland. The company develops
optoelectronic accessories for mobile telephones around the world. The
company’s target groups are both the industrial sector and consumers. By
working together, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and KeepLoop have
been able to produce a package that combines the scientific study of
technology and commercial potential.