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Low cost medical innovation inspired by folding a piece of paper

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding which many people enjoy as a creative hobby.

Did you know, that something as simple as a folding paper can inspire breakthrough solutions in science?

One such example is the Foldscope. Foldscope is the ultra-affordable paper microscope. It was designed to be portable and durable, while performing on par with conventional research microscopes.

Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski from Stanford University observed that while they were on field visits around the world that there was a dearth of microscopes because traditional microscopes were bulky and expensive. As they were brainstorming for solutions that would take away these problems, they sketched some ideas on paper…and it dawned on them that the perfect medium was paper! It was cheap, portable, and when folded the right way, would give them the precision needed for the microscope to perform.[1]

An early design sketch of the Foldscope.

Image from Foldscope – Our Story

That initial, simple idea has now grown into a company that provides powerful low-cost tools to communities around the world, all in an effort to help advance education, health, and opportunity! [2]

At Flying Fish Lab, we are always curious and see inspiration everywhere. We’d love to know how you’ve been inspired by something completely different to solve your challenges.

[1] Source: Foldscope Instruments, Our Story

[2] Source: Foldscope Instruments, Our Story


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