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Could a 50-cent microscope change how we teach health or science to adults in the U.S.?

In a 2012 TED Talk Manu Prakash described a 50-cent, rather sophisticated paper microscope that he claimed could change world health. Could it also change adult health education, health liteacy, and science education in the U.S. ? Would you show this video to your ABE or GED students? To your students in health literacy classes? If so, how would you use it? When they are available, would you get these microscopes for your students to use?

David J. Rosen



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Here's the latest update on the 50 cent microscope -- an amazing invention that could transform science education and health care in poor countries, and science education in adult basic education programs in the U.S. --  from MIT Technology Review

The Bad news:

• The cost is up to a $1.00. Not clear yet what the selling price will be, but probably around that.

• It isn't available yet in the U.S.

The Good news:

• "The device is simple to operate. Simply place your eye close enough to the lens that your eyebrow touches the paper and then focus and pan using your thumbs to manipulate the position of the lens and its distance to the subject."

• "it can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper in under 10 minutes"

• “Although it costs less than a dollar in parts, it can provide over 2,000X magnification with submicron resolution, weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in a pocket, requires no external power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-story building or stepped on by a person.”

• Another short article and video, shows a version that projects the microscopic image on a wall!


David J. Rosen