FOLDSCOPE – THE MICROSCOPE IN YOUR POCKET


The invention of the microscope and its developments helped the researcher community to understand the microscopic world around us and opened up a new dimension of research and study. From primitive microscope with one glass lens to the most advance electron microscope, we have come a long way in exploring the microcosmos and restricting the use of the bulky instrument only to the laboratories. Regular microscope with its cost, heavy weight, fragility and high maintenance, makes the applications of the microscope limited to labs only.

Dr. Manu Prakash Demonstrating paper microscope “Foldscope”

Dr. Manu Prakash, Assistant Professor from Stanford University along with his student, Dr. Jim Cybulski encountered this issue during their field visits to a poorer country, they had found that microscope was limitedly available, fragile and are not being used properly. For overcoming these limitations, Dr. Prakash and team came up with the idea of making affordable and easy to use microscope, by using folded papers, and hence named as “Foldscope”.

Foldscope which is an ultra-affordable paper microscope inspired by origami, is a part of the “Frugal science” movement which aims to make reasonable and easy tools available for scientific use in the developing world. It is a portable, robust and versatile microscope made mostly out of paper (water-proof) that can magnify from 140x and has 1.9 μm resolution without the bulkiness and expense of a conventional research microscope. Fold scope differs from the microscopes typically found in science labs because it’s not only portable, but it also has the ability to project an image on any surface, allowing a larger group of people the ability to look at an image simultaneously.

Dr. Prakash is hoping that because the Fold scope is so cheap to manufacture and easy to assemble that everyone will have access to the world of microscopy and one day every kid will have a Fold scope in their backpacks or tucked away in their pocket. Department of Biotechnology is walking hand in hand with PrakashLab in helping Dr. Prakash achieve his dream “Foldscope for all”.

BRINGING FOLDSCOPES TO INDIA – A DBT Prakash Lab Initiative

The initiative of “microscope for every child” has been taken up by Department of biotechnology alongside Prakash labs (Stanford) through Foldscope which is designed to descend science out of laboratories and leads it into our regular lives.

The Foldscope has been brought to India after the signing of a Statement of Intent between the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Prakash Lab (Stanford University), USA in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to USA for the India-US Startup Konnect event at Silicon Valley on 27th September 2015.

Workshop at Sri Venketeshwara College and Gargi College, Delhi; students were taught about the assemble of Foldscopes, sample collection and how to observe through Foldscope.
Workshop at veterinary college, Assam Agricultural University, Kaziranga National park, Assam and Brahmaputra River cruise.

Immediately after the signing of Statement of Intent, a series of Foldscope workshops and talks were conducted in India between 16-21 December 2015. Manu Prakash, his team (Marie Bas, Tom Hata, Jim Cybulski and Lakshminarayan Iyer) from Stanford and volunteers from TIFR-Hyderabad worked together with DBT and local organisers to teach students and enthusiasts the workings of the Foldscope.

Sri Venketeshwara College and Gargi College, Delhi University:The first in the series. Students from all over Delhi and India attended this workshop. The day ended with a long talk by Manu Prakash where he spoke to assembled students about how uninhibited inquiry and learning from mistakes are important components of science.

Guwahati Workshop: Manu Prakash gave a talk on foldscopes and how to use small inventions to kickstart one’s science at the Veterinary College, Assam Agricultural University, Guwahati. An assemblage of students (school, college and postgraduate level) worked with the Foldscope and DBTteams for an entire day to examine botanical samples, pond water, insects and even fossils.

Brahmaputra River cruise and workshop: On Day 2 of the Northeast leg, participants continued the workshop, examined specimens from the river.

Kaziranga National Park, Assam: a series of Foldscope workshops for students, forest department staff and naturalists was conducted.

TAKING A STEP FORWARD…

In addition these workshops, an attempt has been made by Department of Technology to bring the Foldscope to the most “resource constrained parts of India” with special emphasis on the North Eastern Region of India a “Request for proposals for wide use of the Foldscope as a research and education tool: Democratizing Science through a Major Twinning programme of the North East with other parts of India” was announced inviting proposals from by schools, colleges and universities of India. Under the request for proposals, 439 applications were selected for the award of Foldscope and a micro-grant. These include 114 schools and 325 colleges from across India.

DBT has also been working to bring Foldscope to the Aspirational districts identified by the Government of India for immediate improvement.

A Map showing the number of schools and colleges in every state selected for Foldscope project

Colleges from Aspirational districts under Category ‘B’

SI. No.

PI Name

Institute Name

State

Districts

1.

Dr. Ekramul Islam

University of Kalyani

West Bengal

Nadia

2.

Dr.P.Annapoorani

V.V.Vanniaperumal College for Women

Tamil Nadu

Virudhunagar

3.

Dr. Jayateertha. R. Diwan

University of Agricultural Sciences

Karnataka

Raichur

4.

Dr.Sanjaya Shankar Tripathy

Birla Institute Of Technology

Jharkhand

Ranchi

6.

Dr. K. Vijaya Rachel

Gitam University

Andhra Pradesh

Visakhapatnam

10

Dr. Chandramani Raj

ICAR-RC North East Hilly regions

Meghalaya

Ri Bhoi

11

Dr. Krishnappa R

ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region

Meghalaya

Ri Bhoi

12

Mrs. M. Prabha Devi

ICAR Research Complex for North eastern Hill Region

Meghalaya

Ri Bhoi

13

Dr. Akoijam Ratankumar Singh

ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region

Meghalaya

Ri Bhoi

14

Dr. Rajappa J.J

ICAR, Meghalaya

Meghalaya

Ri Bhoi

15

Dr. Shweta Singh

ICAR-National Organic Farming Research Institute

Meghalaya

Ri Bhoi

16

Dr. Jugabrat Das

Goalpara College

Assam

Goalpara

17

Dr. Bhabajit Doley

Goalpara College

Assam

Goalpara

Schools from Aspirational districts under Category ‘A’

SI. No.

PI Name

Institute Name

State

Districts

1.

T. Duraichamy Pandian

Hindu Primary School

Tamil Nadu

Virudhunagar

2

Ashraful Hussain

Agomani H.S.School

Assam

Dhubri

‘FOLDSCOPE FOR EVERY CHILD’: Workshops Conducted Across The Nation In The Most Resource Constraint Settings From Kashmir To Andaman & Nicobar And From Gujarat To Arunachal Pradesh

The call for proposal was then followed by a chain of  workshops encouraged by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Aim was to bring science to the Most Resource Constraint parts of India. To reach the goal, two days training was conducted for the Foldscope jointly organized by

  • ICMR-NIRRH and IIT– Bombay at Sangharsh Nagar Urdu Municipal School, Chandivali, Mumbai and at Dharavi where children, who have never been exposed to a formal education, participated with utter enthusiasm.

Dr. VijayRaghavan distributing Foldscope kits to students at Sangharsh Nagar Urdu Municipal School, Chandivali, Mumbai.
  • The Sangharsh Nagar Urdu Municipal School; Chandivali Mumbai- Nearly 75 girls from class 5-8 participated. In addition boys and girls from nearby slums, teachers form interiors of Maharashtra and from Northeast attended the workshop.

  • Dharavi- Nawneet Ranjan and Kunal Kanase took the lead in organizing the event. With the help of volunteers the nearly 50 boys and girls (age 12-15 years) participated and learnt to assemble and use the Foldscope.

DBT-PrakashLab Orientation Workshop on the use of Foldscope at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, (ICGEB)

Department of Biotechnology organized a two-day DBT-PrakashLab Orientation Workshop on the use of Foldscope at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, (ICGEB), New Delhi on 16th-17th April 2018. During this workshop, teachers from 114 school and 325 colleges across the country that are being funded by DBT under the Foldscope project got trained in the use of Foldscopes, for further imparting training to students in their respective schools and colleges.

The students and teachers who were trained in this two-day Orientation Workshop are further pioneering the cause, helping DBT and Prakash lab to reach to the interiors of India and lead science into daily lives of the citizens.

In the two days orientation workshop more than 439 teachers from various school and colleges across India participated in the training of foldscope assembly and use very enthusiastically and were hopeful for its best use in future.
  • India International Science Festival (IISF) Lucknow, October 2018

Foldscope training workshop was conducted at the Science Village, IISF Lucknow India 2018. 2000 Children from across the country were trained in using the foldscope.

 

Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, the then DBT Secretary  with Foldscope Superusers/ Mentors
Dr. Manu Prakash at IISF 2018

 

S. No.

States

Number of Students participated

No. of Teachers Participated

1

Andhra Pradesh

90

18

2

Assam

5

1

3

Bihar

117

24

4

Chhattisgarh

34

7

5

Delhi

59

12

6

Gujarat

82

16

7

Goa

19

4

8

Himachal Pradesh

15

2

9

Haryana

24

5

10

Jammu and Kashmir

39

8

11

Jharkhand

18

4

12

Kerala

93

20

13

Karnataka

36

7

14

Madhya Pradesh

182

36

15

Maharashtra

203

40

16

Manipur

10

2

17

Mizoram

10

2

18

Odisha

13

3

19

Pudducherry

5

1

20

Punjab

6

1

21

Rajasthan

27

5

22

Sikkim

10

2

23

Tamil Nadu

284

55

24

Telangana

73

15

25

Tripura

10

2

26,

Uttar Pradesh

203

41

27

Uttrakhand

33

6

28

West Bengal

11

2

Over 2000 Students and 600 Teachers  participated in Foldscope Workshop at IISF 2018

S. No.

District, States

Number of Students participated

No. of Teachers Participated

1

Nawada, Bihar

5

1

2

Dahod, Gujrat

9

2

3

Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu

20

3

4

Osmanabad, Maharashtra

10

1

5

Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

10

1

6

Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh

4

3

7

Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu

5

1

8

Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh

5

1

9

Bastar, Chhattisgarh

5

1

10

Dhalai, Tripura

10

1

11

Palamu, Jharkhand

2

1

12

West Sikkim, Sikkim

5

1

90  Students and 17  Teachers from 12 Aspirational Districts participated in Foldscope Workshop at IISF 2018

WORKSHOPS IN THE MOST RESOURCE CONSTRAINT REGIONS OF INDIA

  • Remote Tribal Village, Kharha, Chhattisgarh: Cell images projected using Foldscope through Night Film Shows at remote tribal village, Kharha, Chhattisgarh State Conducted by Dr Mooventhan Palanisamy. The Place had no electricity yet Dr. Mooventhan took Foldscope to the one of the most resource constraint area. The children and residents were amazed by the images projected through Foldscope.

  • Kendriya Vidyalaya, Aizawl: The students at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Aizwal were introduced to foldscope and world of microbiology and basic hygiene. The students of the class 9th and 10th participated in the workshop. Students observed pre-prepared slides including various specimen including fungal sporangia, apical bud of plant and cross-section of fern rhizome.

  • Remote Village in Himachal Pradesh: In the month of July, workshop was conducted in a remote village of Himachal Pradesh where students were trained and taught about sample preparation and observation. The students observed water samples, collected from a stagnant water, moving rotifers, leaves and flowers.

    Twitter post by a student and reply by Dr Manu Prakash to this post suggesting observation of mint oil droplets
  • Harvesting Knowledge off the Farms: Foldscope succeeded in bring out science to the commoners: Instructors sharing Foldscope experience with locals and farmers in various remote villages of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

    Foldscope has proven its worth in the field of agriculture. For example, Foldscopes were used to identify the microscopic eggs of agricultural pests in India, to catalog the biodiversity of soil arthropods, follow toxic blooms, detect bacteria in water samples, map pollen diversity in a city landscape.

Farmers and Locals from Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu were taught to assemble a Foldscope and were also explained about the use of Foldscope.
  • NCCS, Pune and ICAR Research Complex for Northeastern Hill Region Meghalaya conducted workshop on the Foldscope for students from North-East:

Under this program a group of  15 MeECL School, Shillong visited NCCS, Pune between 12th to 15th November 2018. During this visit the students visited different labs at NCMR campus, NCCS main campus, IISER, Pune and one-day field trip to Panshet dam, Pune.

Students from MeECL School, Shillong assembling their foldscopes during four days workshop on applications of foldscope under NE student exchange program observing samples during field trip to Panshet Dam.
  • Eden Educational Resource Centre, Madurai:
    • 16 Training carried out all over Tamil Nadu including:

      • Field Visits to 10 Places, 8 Bio walks, Foldscope Exhibition and Demonstrations in schools, colleges, book fairs, parks etc.

      Trained about:

      • 95,000 students, 15,000 commoners, 17,000 teachers.

        Tribal school children at Vellimalai, Vilupuram district

  • IIT Bombay for school students from J&K Migrant Camp School: 40 students and 7 teachers from Jammu and Kashmir migrant camp schools participated. The initiative was taken by IITB and was sponsored by IDEA cellular as part of their corporate social responsibility.

Dr. Jim Cybulski, Foldscope instruments  demonstrating the assembly of Foldscope to Students and teachers  from J&K migrant camp school trained at IIT- Bombay

  • Government Schools and Shiksha Kendras in rural Rajasthan

  • Kumbhalgarh, Rajsamand District Around 40 children were trained to assemble and use foldscope from Government Schools in Gundika Bhilwara, a tribal hamlet, and Aret ki bhagal, in Kumbhalgarh block of Rajsamand District. The children took the lead – anything and everything was a sample for foldscope! Their curiosity and understanding made it easy to develop the science based WASH curriculum for Shiksha Kendras.

  • Udaipur District – Shiksha Kendras are Non-Formal Education Centres established by Seva Mandir, in areas with no/low access to schools across Udaipur district. Shiksha Kendra instructors usually hail from the same village who have a slightly better education level among other locals yet are passionate for educating the next generation.

                                                                                  children from a tribal hamlet of Rajasthan

  • 155+ instructors from 150 Shiksha Kendras trained and over 4500 children trained across all the Shiksha Kendras.

  • The foldscope trainings have been with major focus on viewing germs in real, which they had only heard of during sanitation awareness campaigns, and understand the science behind sanitation and hygiene to empower them with knowledge to make an informed decision towards their sanitation practices.

  • A separate Science curriculum is proposed to be added to their existing Hindi-English-Maths curriculum.

  • B.R Ambedkar Insitute of Technology, Port Blair: A one day National Conference on Foldscope will be held during March 2019 at Dr.B.R.Ambedkar Institute of Technology(Govt.), Port Blair under the command of Dr. E.Muthu Kumaran, Assistant professor who is also the Principle Investigator for one of the funded Foldscope project. Along with his team, He has been working to analyse for phytoplankton and zooplankton species richness and diversity as well as chlorophyll content.

Nematodes and mites in pond freshwater; copepods, diatoms, planktonic gastropods and polychaete larvae from seawater were observed by Dr. Kumaran during his project.

  • Foldscope Workshop in Bastar: Mr Prem Sewak Sudhish affiliated to Dayal Singh College, working towards education in tribal areas of MP, Bihar; conducted a Foldscope workshop in Bastar. The enthusiasm and hunger to learn spotted when the children came up with handmade Foldscopes when they ran out of Foldscope kits.

Children came up with handmade Foldscopes when the Trainer ran out of kits

Actively participating Children at one of the workshops conducted in a school in Bastar.