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Diagnostics Microscopy and imaging, Software and hardware, Technology and innovation

Print Your Own Microscope

Have you ever thought about printing your own microscope? Thanks to a new open-source design from the University of Bath, labs around the world can now use 3D printing to create a fully automated instrument with motorized sample positioning and focus control. Not only is the laboratory-grade microscope simple to use, but it also produces high-quality images and can be customized to suit specific needs.

Commercial microscopes typically cost tens of thousands of dollars – but the new OpenFlexure microscopes cost as little as US$18, which covers the printing materials, camera, and fastening equipment. Those able to spend more can create a higher-end version that includes an objective lens and an embedded Raspberry Pi computer. “We want these microscopes to be used globally in schools, research laboratories, clinics, and people’s homes,” said Joel Collins, the device’s co-creator (1). Over 100 units have already been printed in Tanzania and Kenya (2).

Credit: Dr Joel Collins.

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  1. University of Bath, 2020. Available at:
  2. JT Collins et al., Biomedical Optics Express, 11, 2447 (2020). Available at:

About the Author

Luke Turner

While completing my undergraduate degree in Biology, I soon discovered that my passion and strength was for writing about science rather than working in the lab. My master’s degree in Science Communication allowed me to develop my science writing skills and I was lucky enough to come to Texere Publishing straight from University. Here I am given the opportunity to write about cutting edge research and engage with leading scientists, while also being part of a fantastic team!

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