Thomas Larson is looking to break into the camera phone attachment market and inspire a new generation of scientists with the Micro Phone Lens, an adhesive add-on lens that offers 15X optical magnification from a tiny footprint.
In a similar way to the Strap-on Macro Lens, the Micro Phone Lens trades off the performance of larger devices like the ProScope Micro against the convenience of being so small that you hardly notice it.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Measuring only 1/4 inch (6 mm) in diameter, the device is essentially a tiny sticker that goes right over the camera's lens. It is washable, removable and reusable, so you won't have to lock it into one specific smartphone or tablet.
The lens is made using "platinum catalyzed silicone technology," which basically means it uses soft plastic instead of glass. This makes it flexible and scratch-resistant and according to Larson it is optically identical to glass.
The actual lens is able to achieve a magnification of 15X, but it can achieve higher magnification in the order of 60X with the assistance of the smartphone or tablet's digital zooming capability. Larson recommends using it with a 5 megapixel cell phone camera as a minimum.
In the future, Larson plans to bring a 150X version of the lens to market. This would essentially create a portable microscope. Unfortunately, "unfinished design problems" are holding off the development of that model.
The creator is seeking funding for his Micro Phone Lens on Kickstarter and has already blown past his goal of US$5,000. A pledge of $15 will put you in line for one Micro Phone Lens with deliveries expected in October.
The Kickstarter pitch video below provides more information on the Micro Phone Lens.