Gone are the days when a cell phone could just be a cell phone -- and for MacGyver-minded scientists, that could be a very good thing. In this article, the New York Times reports on a project from UCLA's Aydogan Ozcan, who has figured out how to convert cell phones into microscopes using "about $10 worth of off-the-shelf hardware." The story adds, "The adapted phones may be used for screening in places far from hospitals, technicians or diagnostic laboratories."
Over at DIYbio, blogger Tito is all over this concept. In this post, he describes various attempts to turn his iPhone into a microscope after being inspired by the CellScope project out of UC Berkeley and the Hackteria project from iGEM. Tito notes that you won't get to your phone/microscope using just any random equipment. "Overall, I went through a lot of crummy ideas to get to some ok ones," he writes. "The next step is mobility."