Foldscope Team at Stanford Developing 50-Cent Origami Microscope

Foldscope in Uganda
Foldscope in Uganda. Photo by Foldscope Team.

Stanford professor Manu Prakash and his students have developed a microscope that can be punched out and folded together from a sheet of paper, origami-style, for a cost of 50 cents each, lenses and LED lights included.

Foldscope Captured Images
Foldscope Captured Images. Image by Foldscope Team.

The microscope was created to address the problem of diagnosing diseased such as malaria in the developing world. In many cases, a diagnosis must wait, simply because no microscope is available. Prakash’s research team is field testing thousands of microscopes to help with the problem, and contributing to hands-on science education along the way. Learn more at or watch the TED talk below.

Foldscope Brochure
Image by Foldscope Team.

Instant Smartphone Hologram Projector!

Face hologram created with smartphone hologram projectorDid you know you can use your smartphone to create a hologram? You can replicate the mesmerizing hologram shown above, and many others, with nothing but your smartphone, an old CD case, and a YouTube video. Here is the simple three step process:

Step 1: Make a paper template

Drawing the template for your smartphone hologram projector

Draw and cut out a paper trapezoid 3.5 cm tall, 6 cm wide at the base, and 1 cm wide at the top. It can be larger if you like, as long as the proportions are the same. You may want to use graph paper.

Step 2: Cut and assemble an inverted pyramid

Cutting and assembling the smartphone hologram projector

Use the template and a pen to outline four identical trapezoids on an old CD case. Then cut them out and tape them together so that they form an inverted pyramid. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

The assemble smartphone hologram projector

Step 3: Place the pyramid on your phone and play the video


Skull hologram created with DIY smartphone hologram projectorTurn out the lights, place your phone face up on a table or other elevated surface (it looks cooler if you are looking up at it), and play the video below, or other hologram videos that may be available on YouTube. It’s that simple!