HARDWARE: Cheap microscopes for developing world

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/08/cheap-300-fluorescent-microscopes-for-developing-world.ars

Cheap ($300) fluorescent microscopes for developing world
By Chris Lee | Last updated about 18 hours ago

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So, how much would you pay for such a microscope? $500? $750? To build your own using optics out of catalogs will cost you $490. However, given the mark-up on equipment out of optical catalogs, the researchers estimate that a manufacturer could get this out the door for under $300.

Even at $500, this is all right. You can buy three of these for the cost of something from Nikon, and you can put them in traveling clinics to provide point-of-care diagnostics to a much larger number of people compared to a single microscope at a fixed facility. So, even if the researchers are a bit optimistic on the price, it is still a net win for overburdened healthcare systems in developing world countries.

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You have to admire the ingenuity that can make something that’s good enough to get the job done at a price that get to the people who can use it.

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