Glowforge can it save lives

Hey check this out …
It’s a mini microscope that can help diagnose diseases. Coupled with the string centerfuge doctors can diagnose malaria. The ability to be carried in a backpack means that remote places can get quick diagnoses saving lives.
It all cost about a dollar. The design is Taylor made for a tool like the Glowforge.
What you think?


That is awesome!!! thanks for sharing!


These humanitarian applications are near and dear to my heart. Foldscope is one of the few Kickstarters I’ve supported, donating a school pack to a local school in a high poverty area. The design (see the paper in PLOS:1) is very laser-friendly, but I haven’t seen explicit licensing language yet.

I’ve been working with e-NABLE for a couple of years, 3D printing assistive devices for folks with upper limb differences and find it very fulfilling. As these sort of open source programs flourish, I could see a GF-owner "volunteer corps’ arising as we discover (and develop!) ways that we can contribute.

Great post, thanks for sharing!


The hype on this is a bit high. I diagnose malaria not infrequently mostly with a “thick smear” which basically needs a microscope, simple centrifuge, glass slide and basic lab supplies. Pretty effective actually, and cheap (not counting labor). They make it sound like the cost of a cheap centrifuge is the gating item. You still need the rest of it so not sure you’d have a good high power microscope (the parasites are around 3 microns) with an oil lens without the rest of it.


How good are those phone microscopes getting? I know the cheap one I have is 150x, and, yeah, the cost of the phone, but still. (Back of the envelope says 150x should give you about a 1mm^2 field of view so pixel resolution of around half a micron, which is about an order of magnitude off, depending, and not counting the optical issues.)

Here’s another video, with video taken through the (140x, IIRC) microscope.


I’ve seen the microscope, but the centrifuge is new to me. Very interesting. Thank you.

1 Like

HI henryhbk,
That’s great, I just like the idea of solving problems with low tech inexpensive items especially if it helps people that otherwise would not have access to timely diagnoses. Just think the glowforge may open up a lot of things we haven’t even thought of yet… kind of a woo hoo moment.