Micro Phone Lens is a cheap way to turn your phone into a microscope, now on Kickstarter

by: Bogdan PetrovanAugust 23, 2013

micro phone lens (1)

Mobile technology routinely enables us to accomplish things that just a few short years ago were the stuff of science fiction. But, for reasons that usually pertain to money, there’s only so much innovation that phone manufacturers can bake into their devices. Fortunately, creative individuals can pick up the slack, and Thomas Larson is the perfect example.

Larson developed Micro Phone Lens, a cheap, simple, flexible lens that can turn a regular smartphone into a basic microscope. Micro Phone Lens is just that, a lens made of soft, sticky silicon that users can apply over their smartphone’s camera to obtain an instant boost in magnification.

Sure, the little lens doesn’t hold a candle to any full-blown microscope, but it has the advantage of being cheap, portable, and usable in almost any situation.

Larson began developing the Micro Phone Lens while still in college, and he’s now ready to commercialize it, using the Kickstarter platform. For $15, you can get your own lens, along with a plastic carrying case. The young inventor already raised more than double his initial target of $5,000, with 18 days left in the campaign.

As you can see from these sample images taken with Micro Phone Lens, results can be quite good, though we suspect you will need great lighting and a steady hand to achieve similar results. The only “technical requirement” is having a phone with a 5MP camera and, preferably, auto-focus. The sticky lens is easily detachable and can be cleaned with soap and water.

Thomas Larson says he’s currently working on a superior model of his silicon lens, that magnifies by an impressive 150X. Here’s a sample, representing pollen grains.

micro phone lens (3)

Interested? Head over to Kickstarter.

  • MasterMuffin

    Cool and best part is that it’s universal (and cheap!)

  • tomn1ce

    Interesting, I wonder how good that lens will work…

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    That’s really cool! Hats off to Mr. Thomas Larson. Well done.

  • D’Ander McSullivan

    Definitively getting it!

  • End in sight


  • mmmmmbop

    Dang it, I’m trying to stop spending money.

  • Kyle Gustafson

    Not ever going to be a good enough quality for actual research. Difficult enough with modern microscopes and cameras. Check out the skylight if you are serious about getting good microscope pictures with phones

    • Daniel

      The skylight is an adapter to mount your phone onto a full-size microscope. The Micro Phone Lens takes nothing more than your phone and the lens to create a microscope camera. Is it as high powered as the stand-alone models which cost several hundred dollars? Of course not, but this is a step in that direction. These are two entirely different products with different uses.