Light microscope is known as a basic scientific instrument. It magnifies small objects and give not-visible-to-naked-eye details. Therefore, it is a powerful learning tool for everyone including, but not limit to students in scientific program. Although microscope is important for learning, many schools cannot afford this equipment as well as other relevant costs (i.e. lens maintenance, temperature and humidity-controlled room, and external camera for image capture.
Researcher from Photonics Technology Team (PHT), National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), National Sciences and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) then started developing self-attached-flexible-polymer lens which can be easily attached onto camera of smartphone or tablet since 2014, and use as a personal microscope. The lens was named MuEye pronounced as Mu-Eye which means eyes for seeing micron-size objects.
MuEye lens differs from other commercial magnified lenses due to the patent-pending moldless fabricating process. Our technique gives high-quality lens with controllable magnifications ranging from 1 to 200 times by varying fabricating temperature and nozzle moving speed. This research will allow low-cost lens manufacturing for mobile microscope. We also designed a sample stand which has built-in light source, adjustment knob and ability to use with both front and back camera of smartphone device. MuEye prototype was first launched to market in 2014 via crowdfunding in product name “TWI-VIS” and can raise fund more than 6000 USD. This funding was spent on mass production R&D.
Since 2015, a number of prototypes were distributed to schools in different campaigns.
In 2019, MuEye RoboKid, the new version of MuEye Series has integrated with NECTEC microcontroller board (KidBright: https://www.kid-bright.org ). We simplified the process of lens alignment and changed the manual focal adjustment to x-y-z position scanning. Users will be able to control the MuEye RoboKid Microscope using Kidbright controlled panel or our MuEye software.
MuEye RoboKid microscopes are available in many schools, which participated in FABLAB and KruKid campaign (see the map for further detail).
- FABLAB is NSTDA’s campaign for promote prototype fabrication skills in schools
- KruKid is NECTEC’s contest campaign for seek out talented high-school teachers
- We also developed other learning tools to inspire children in building up science skills. The following video shows kids’ experiences for 1 day-science camp in NSTDA, Thailand.
- Crowdfunding link:
- Publication link:
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