Students use origami to assemble tiny microscopes made of paper
Dr Manu Prakash and his team from the Department of Biotechnology conducted workshops for children at a civic-run Urdu school in Kurla and learning centre in DharaviUpdated: Sep 01, 2017 19:07 IST
In small rooms, devoid of any fancy laboratory instruments, around 70 children donned scientists’ hat on Monday, as they assembled a unique pocket-sized microscope made of paper, which costs less than Rs 60.
A team of scientists from Stanford University, US, who created the paper microscope called ‘foldscope’ using the technique of origami, indicted these young minds into the world of microscopy, to teach them that science can be learnt and enjoyed practically anywhere.
Dr Manu Prakash and his team with senior members from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) conducted workshops for children at a civic-run Urdu school in Kurla and learning centre in Dharavi run by Dharavi Diary, an NGO.
“The inspiration was to take a ball lens and make a microscope which is inexpensive yet gives you the capability of seeing small things,” said James Cybulski, who created the device. Foldscope gives a resolution of up to 700 nanometer. He added, “Our early prototyping was with material readily available and since paper is something that you have on your desk, so we thought of using it.”
Professor Vijay Raghavan, secretary DBT, said the idea is to have every student possess a Foldscope in the coming years. “Out of these students, even if 10% get to questioning science seriously, it will make a huge difference,” he said.
Dr Shailja Gupta, adviser, DBT, said the government has already procured 85,000 microscope kits. “We have called for a proposal so that schools and colleges, especially from rural areas, can apply to get the kits,” she said.
The little children left no stones unturned to make the most of the opportunity. “The most amazing part of the device is that users can upload whatever they see under the microscope and scientists across the world can view them. There is a diversity of users, which makes it very fascinating,” said Manu Prakash, who initiated the work on Fulscope back in 2012.