Stanford University Graduate students under the direction of Manu Prakash helped develop a foldable microscope for use in disease diagnostic work in third world countries. The material cost for the microscope is 50 cents US.
Update: I have provided some images taken with the foldscope microscope attached to a cellphone camera.
Different microscopes can be designed for different disease identification. The scopes work using a standard microscope slide. In addition to third world applications this could also be used for field identification of fungal organisms during mold investigations. I would like to determine if the optic quality is good enough to do quick read of an Air-o-Cell cassette slide.
The microscope folds together like origami.
They are field testing 10,000 of theses microscopes around the world. You can sign up here to be part of the foldscope field test.
This pdf document on the foldscope microscope provides the technical information.