Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

What is Foldscope?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Foldscope

Mains level : NA

Indian researchers have explored and validated the clinical utility of Foldscope in the diagnosis of diseases using various patient samples.

Though trivial, Foldscope is a significant invention with most crucial applications. It somehow offers an alternative to costly microscopes for some basic diagnosis.

What is Foldscope?

  • Foldscope is an affordable origami-based microscopy device composed of a series of paper clippings.
  • Upon assembly, the device can hold a specimen slide for observation, and this specimen can be viewed via a mobile phone camera attached to it.

How does it work?

  • Foldscope can be assembled using paper clips and mounted on a cell phone using coupler and glue drops.
  • To do the assessment, a patient sample like urine is smeared on a transparent glass slide and visualized under a Foldscope mounted on a cell phone.
  • Sample images can be enlarged using the zoom function of the mobile, which can be stored on the mobile memory card for later reference/patient records.
  • Foldscope visualizes calcium oxalate crystals, which are a major cause of kidney stones.

Utility of Foldscope

  • Foldscope is particularly convenient to diagnose urinary tract infection (UTI) and monitor kidney stone.
  • The study evaluated the use of Foldscope in the clinical diagnosis of oral and urinary tract infections.
  • Using this tool, one can easily monitor own-kidney stone status at home with a simple glass-slide, a Foldscope and a phone in hand.
  • Such monitoring could perhaps avoid kidney stone reaching a painful state or surgery in recurring cases.

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