Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre has developed an optical accessory that transforms the camera of a normal mobile phone into a microimaging system that can be used to examine objects and structures in microscopic detail and transmit high-resolution images as MMS messages. Featuring next-generation lens technology and a resolution of 10 microns, the accessory could benefit the printing industry, consumers, security applications and health care professionals. The first industrial applications and consumer models will be available in early 2012.


The accessory contains a lens with LEDs to illuminate the object being examined.  It fits in front of the regular camera lens using magnetic attachment. Unlike conventional tubular microscopes, the accessory easily fits in the user’s pocket. The microscope accessory has a moulded plastic macro lens that gives the camera a 2x3-mm field of view. Several LEDs are recessed in the perimeter of the lens to allow objects to be illuminated from different angles, which could potentially be used in combination with a software app to produce 3D topographic images.