Adventures in innerspace with the iPhone. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
One of the best parts of high school science class is using a microscope to view cell walls, bacteria, and various assorted bug guts. And then there’s one of the worst parts: waiting your turn to actually use the lab’s limited collection of hardware. But now with a specially designed iPhone case, today’s students don’t have to wait in line to see all those icky insect bits.
The Magnifi iPhone case is a universal viewfinder adapter that attaches to microscopes, telescopes, and anything else with a viewfinder that falls within the 1- to 1.5-inch diameter range. This Kickstarter project will be available in late May to early adopters for $75, and for $60 at the end of July for everyone else.
Attach and latch. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
The polycarbonate case slides onto your iPhone along its stainless steel ridge, a design that doesn’t interfere with any screen-protection film you may have placed over your display. Your microscope or telescope eyepiece fits inside a circular adapter, which attaches to the case via a standard bayonet mount — a universal system that allows the Magnifi designers to introduce different adapter sizes in the future.
The adapter itself uses a latch system with a silicon band tensioner to attach to your optical equipment’s eyepiece. Just place the adapter on the eyepiece, and close the latch for a secure fit.
Photograph the moon, or the tree down the street. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
Once attached to the eyepiece, the iPhone can take photos of microscope slide content, the wonders of space, or a rare bird discovered in the woods (via a binocular mount). In addition to shooting photo and video with the adapter, the images on the iPhone can be shared via Skype and FaceTime, or even mirrored to an HDTV using AirPlay mirroring.
This particular application would give teachers the ability to quickly share content with an entire class without the need to buy a fleet of optical equipment, or upgrade to pricier equipment with built-in cameras. In all, it’s a simple solution for classrooms in which students vastly outnumber microscopes.
The brainchild of Xianne and Isaac Penny, the Magnifi case went through 30 iterations before being placed on Kickstarter. Isaac told Wired: “I have a big bag of 3D-printed prototypes at home.”
The couple uses microscopes on a daily basis at their day jobs: Xianne is a post-doctoral fellow in Pathology, while Isaac is an engineer. The pair wanted an easy-to-use system to photograph, and share what they were seeing in their microscopes and found the current systems on the market to be too cumbersome.