Marc Dusseiller from Hackteria.org was in Nairobi for a conference on point-of-care diagnostics, demonstrating some of his cool low-tech biohacking devices. I spent some time with him after the conference, showing him around Nairobi, as well as taking him over to the iHub to see if we could meet up with any other hackers/makers.
He showed me some simple tricks you can do with the camera on cheap devices like mobile phones:
The first picture is only using the digital zoom on my stock Samsung Galaxy Nexus, focused quite well on my jeans. The second picture is actually several pixels on Marc’s Asus Zenbook laptop LED, but my phone’s camera was modified to use a lens from a cheap web cam to magnify the picture by several orders of magnitude. The stock camera hardware is actually quite impressive (but it’s a $500 phone, so what do you expect?!).
These tricks are the basis of Marc’s experiments in cheap microscopy, making useful lab equipment from commodity parts.