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Bioengineer designs diagnostic microscope costing less than $1

It’s an invention that would make TV’s secret agent MacGyver proud: a fully functional microscope that can be assembled from folded paper and a tiny bead of glass. And it only costs about 50 cents. By adding a watch battery, a light-emitting diode and an on/off switch, it can be configured to diagnose blood-borne diseases such as malaria, African sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and Chagas — all for under a dollar. The Foldscope is the brainchild of Manu Prakash, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering. He developed the idea during medical need-finding trips to India, Thailand, Uganda and Nigeria with graduate students James Cybulski and James Clements. During the trip, the team witnessed the deadly toll of infectious diseases including malaria, and noted that many of the remote villages couldn’t afford conventional microscopes or rapid diagnostics tests.”

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