BLIPS: Convert your Smartphone in a Microscope

BLIPS has been developed within the neuroscience labs of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) exploiting the materials and the methods used for the manufacturing of micro devices for the investigation of neuronal networks.

It allows you to take high definition macro pictures with optical magnification of about 10 times. It is extremely thin, about 1/50 inch (0.5mm), and very user friendly. It represents the first step from “standard” photography towards portable microscopy. Its working distance, i.e. the distance between the lens and the focal plane, is of about 1/2 inch (12mm).

Blips allows your Smartphone to be used as a Microscope.

Blips Micro is able to detect details of about 1/7000 inch (≈1/300 mm), distinguishing single cells or other inhabitants of the micro-world. BLIPS Micro is less than 1/20 inch (≈1.2mm) high, and turns your phone into an actual digital microscope. You need to keep a distance of ¼ inch (6mm) between the lens and the sample under observation to discover tiny details at a high definition. With the use of the digital zoom it’s possible to achieve magnification of over 100x*.

*Note: the magnification factor depends on the model of smartphone or tablet used. To measure the magnification factor we suggest to take a picture of two tick marks on a ruler and measure the captured image on the screen. Other products claimed magnification factors often prove lower than claimed when tested by using this method.

Blips package is made of two lenses: 1 BLIPS MACRO & 1 BLIPS MICRO plus 2 small sponges which facilitate to stabilize the focus. (Use one over the other when using Macro BLIPS).

The pack contains:

• 2 BLIPS lenses (Micro & Macro)
• 1 light source
• 2 sponges
• 1 smartphone stage
• 6 prepared slides

Macro Lens: The best option to observe insects or objects in motion. Its deeper focus allows you to easily follow the subject you are examining.

Micro Lens: For higher magnification; maximal resolution (ability to see small details) can be achieved by using transmitted light through the subject you are observing (for example using prepared slides and a light source from behind).

Lens Specifications

Extremely thin –> Macro Lens ≈ 0.5mm, Micro Lens<1.2mm

Made of plastic resin of shore hardness D 80-90 –> not easily deformable

High refractive index material (n > 1.55) –> superior optical performance

Aspherical shape –> optimized optical design

Non-sticky top surface –> dust-free, extremely easy to clean

Inert plastic, certified to meet the US Class VI USP protocol for use in medical applications in cases of skin contact –> harmless when in contact with skin

High resolution –> Distinguishes details <4 microns (≈ 1/6500 inch) for Micro

Very Simple to use : Just Stick and Enjoy

1) Clean the glass of the camera with a piece of fabric or cloth to make sure dust and grease are properly removed

2) Lift BLIPS by one end

3) Keep the two ends of the film facing upwards, align the lens on the camera and press it onto the glass window; it will adhere electrostatically, do not be afraid to touch and press the lens with your finger

4) Stick the rest of the film onto the smartphone body

5) Open the App (available freely for Android and IOS).

6) Move your device close to the subject under observation; the distance is 12mm for BLIPS Macro and 6mm for Micro. Put the lens as closer as possible to the sample and slowly move backwards until the image is focused, or use the sponge to easily find the correct distance. If light conditions are weak, activate the flashlight mode on your mobile (by activating the flash command in app).

Source : Kickstarter


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Rakesh Bhatia

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