Close Up

The cheap lens that transforms your smartphone into a microscope.

University of Houston researchers created a soft, flexible lens using polydimethylsiloxane that can attach directly to a phone’s camera lens, amplifying images by a magnitude of 120. And it only costs 3 cents a pop to produce.

Update, May 10, 2015: The len’s creators have shut down their Kickstarter campaign, ending an effort to produce the lens commercially.