Foldscope lets youth get mystified by world of microbes
A foldscope is a paper microscope that can be assembled from the simplest of components such as a sheet of paper and lens, and costs less than Rs 100 to make.
Published: 15th May 2022 07:42 AM | Last Updated: 15th May 2022 07:42 AM | A+A A-
SRIKAKULAM: In an attempt to fuel scientific temperament among students, Srikakulam Government Degree College (Men) has opened a foldscope training center in the institute. The workshop, being conducted in collaboration with the Centre's Department of Biotechnology, is also for teachers.
A foldscope is a paper microscope that can be assembled from the simplest of components such as a sheet of paper and lens, and costs less than Rs 100 to make. At least 30 people undergo training on how to put into use the paper microscopes, there every week. The foldscope training centre in Srikakulam is the first such facility in a government college in the State.
Inspired by origami, the foldscope concept is a part of the "democratization of science" movement, which aims to make reasonable and easy tools available for scientific use to the most resource constraint schools, colleges, labs, etc.
It is portable, robust and versatile, and made mostly of paper (water-proof) with a magnification of 140x-2000x. Foldscope was invented by Indian researcher Dr. Manu Prakash and his student Dr. Jim Cybulski at Prakash Lab, Stanford University, US.
It was brought to India after signing a Statement of Intent between the Union government's Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Stanford University on September 27, 2015.
The DBT has been organizing training programmes and workshops on the usage of foldscopes in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology across the country. Dr M Pradeep, a biotechnology faculty at the Srikakulam college, underwent training on foldscope on receipt of invitation from the DBT.
Under him, three more faculties learnt about the paper microscopes. Later, college principal P Surekha encouraged the faculty to offer an outreach programme.
"We've been training at least 30 people, both faculty and students, per week on foldscope. The DBT is providing foldscope only for Rs 100. It is portable, foldable, cheap, water proof and affordable for everyone. We can see microorganisms with it anywhere," Dr Pradeep said.