The only components other than Lego are the lenses in smartphone cameras. According to a recent article in Biophysics. They found that the children who undertook the project — including making their own microscopes and running several experiments at home — had a thorough understanding of how the microscope worked. This is part of the ongoing process of "saving science": using low-cost consumer hardware and open-source software to build low-cost scientific instruments. Hand tools are well suited for training and field use environments in developing countries. p>
Lego blocks are a useful source of cost-effective components for such situations. DIY tools. In 2014, for example, an international team of students built atomic force microscopes (AFMs) using Lego bricks as components. Unlike a traditional microscope, where the user sees a sample through a piece of the eye, AFM is much like an old school recorder. A small needle attached to a container (arm) moves through the sample and moves up and down in response to any bumps on the sample surface. This roughness is "detected" by changing the laser light reflected off the container.Advertising
AFM students build themselves from Lego blocks, 3D-printed parts, and Arduino computers. The only two components they had to order were the discrete link optical tracker and the piezo actuators. Admittedly, the resulting AFM was only suitable for shooting very small areas, but the total cost was just over $400. That's a steal compared to the high $100,000 price tag for an advanced science and research degree. And in 2015, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists created a low-cost wattage balance out of Lego and some basic electronics. Betz and his colleagues found that the basic principles of working behind the microscope were only enough to counter intuition to be a challenge to students (and a handful of adults). They also noted that while microscopes are an essential scientific tool, their use in the classroom - or at home, especially in times of a global pandemic - is limited by the tools' cost and fragility. So they decided to make a cheaper version of Lego bricks, inspired by an earlier version of a Lego microscope called the LegoScope. The research team thought they could improve the design because LegoScope still needed custom 3D-printed parts.
The only non-Lego components in the ultimate DIY microscope design are two optical components: a large magnification objective and a low magnification objective. Betz and his colleagues found that smartphone camera lenses are now high enough to dissolve individual cells — and they cost less than $5 off a shelf. They used plastic lenses to replace the iPhone 5 camera module for zooming purpose. "After carefully removing the lenses from the slide, they are affixed to the LEGO bricks using clear tape and a sliding cover glass," the authors wrote.
They used a glass lens for a low magnification objective, with a built-in stabilizer attached to the same attached brick as the high magnification objective. For lighting, they used a special Lego brick that included an orange LED, although they replaced it with a different color. In the case of uneven illumination, they demonstrated how to spread a thin sheet of paper and place it between the LED and the sample. The smooth surface of the Lego bricks creates a great specimen holder.Read more Lego bricks during new and improved testing still had over 30,000 high impressions
The goal holder is the most challenging component of the Lego building block. Ultimately, Betz and his colleagues combined a gear with a worm gear screw that enables users to adjust focus. "While the objective holder is the smallest of all the separate parts of the microscope, it is highly sought after due to its fabrication skills," the authors wrote. "Therefore, this part should be constructed by older and more experienced children, or the building should be supervised by an adult to avoid frustration in the early stages of building the microscope." Designed by Betz et al. Also a number of basic indoor experiments that users can perform with their Lego microscopes. For example, an experiment involving a study of single-layered red onions, observing how an osmotic shock was applied (adding a drop of sodium chloride solution) led to the loss and contraction of onion juice. The other case involved observing the formation of salt crystals, while the third case involved observing the movement of brine shrimp (microscotter) in the water.
They tested their hand tools and experimental designs with the help of a group of 9-year-olds. Until 13 years old, when he built microscopes and did some experiments, he gave them enough freedom to study how the magnification worked on his own. The researchers monitored the children's progress at all stages and then asked them to complete a questionnaire to assess their learning. They found that this process significantly increases children's understanding of the microscope.
All software and instructions for the Lego Group microscope (including step-by-step tutorials) are free in English, German, Dutch and Spanish. “We hope this modular microscope 'should be used in classrooms and homes all over the world to motivate and inspire children about science.'” We have shown that scientific research does not need to be separated from everyday life. It can be useful, educational, and entertaining."
DOI: The Biophysicist, 2021. 10.35459/tbp.2021.000191 (about DOI).
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