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A program centered in Mexico is taking in old cellphones to create low-cost microscopes for schools.

July 5, 2023

1 Min Read
cellphone camera MR1540.jpg
Alessandro Zocchi / Alamy Stock Photo

A program centered in Mexico is taking in old cellphones to create low-cost microscopes for schools.

The appropriately named, “Recycling a cell phone to make a school microscope” program was started at the Optical Testing Laboratory of BUAP’s Faculty of Mathematical Physics (FCFM). The program aims to provide low-cost microscopes to basic and upper secondary schools. Using recycled cell phones, pieces of wood and acrylic, the program has produced over 1,000 microscopes.

The microscopes have successfully been able to observe bacteria, onion and tomato cells, fly feathers, and more.

The program first started five years ago, and survived through the pandemic, when Alberto Cordero Davila, a FCFM researcher, and his students came up with the idea to remove a camera lens from a used cellphone to be used as a magnifying glass.

After the microscopes proved to be successful in its functionalities, the program looked to expand to other institutions. Using workshops, Davila began training other high school teachers to build their own microscopes.

Currently the program is working with students in municipalities including San Pedro Cholula, Tonantzintla, the state of Oaxaca, and many more.

The microscopes help schools in a large way as the usual minimum cost of a school microscope is around 6,000 pesos, which most schools can’t afford with their own resources and budgets. Adding to that, each laboratory requires at least 10 microscopes for exercises.

Read the full story here.

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