Cover image courtesy of Mariano Rodríguez Malebrán, one of the creators of this fantastic microscope
I bring to you an amazing cheap and powerful microscope called Micro-Hoek. It was created in the Biology Department of University of La Serena by Edgardo Mundaca Maldonado, Mariano Rodríguez Malebrán y Rodomiro Osorio Barahona and it has a digital manual of construction in spanish. It is under a Creative commons 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International) (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). It was created to provide for the low income schools low cost microscopes. In the present post we are going to see the highlights for its building.
The problem 🔬 💰
One of the common problems in community science is the cost of hardware for measuring environmental variables. Especifically, some bioindicators are not visible at naked eye (for example: algae, protozoans, etc.), then some instruments like microscopes are needed to detect its presence. Commercial microscopes could cost between 60-700 USD, that is unaffordable especially in low income countries.
The answer 💡
The micro-Hoek microscope is builded almost completely with recycled materials. You only need:
- Lens from a CD or DVD reader without use, this hardware is commonly discarded as electronic waste
- CR2032 3v coin battery, you can get it from an old computer motherboard, or buy it
- Toilet paper tube (2)
- Ice cream stick or hair grip could be useful also
- White LED
- Tape Please, see the images in the spanish manual, the building procedure is very intuitive.
The micro-Hoek microscope is an amazing tool to observe bioindicators as algae and protozoans. These living beings are very informative about the environmental state of aquatic environments. Also, you could see some animal and plant tissues which is very important for the teaching of biology. The additional value of this tool is to get value from the obsolete hardware, reducing the electronic waste on the planet.
Animal tissue images taken by the Micro-Hoek, courtesy of Mariano Rodríguez Malebran
Final thoughts 💭
Please, tell us what you think about this tool. If you build it and observe interesting things, share some photos.