UC-Davis researchers developed a lens that'll turn your iPhone or any camera-enabled smartphone into a 350x microscope. The mod is a simple 1mm ball lens mounted in rubber that's taped to your phone's camera. It costs about $US40.
Besides its obvious uses in the classroom and research field, this basic lens could be a useful tool for doctors in impoverished areas. It's resolution of 1.5 microns is sensitive enough that doctors can use it to view red blood cells and diagnose blood diseases like iron deficiency sickle-cell anemia. And it's cheap. Even when you add in the cost of an iPhone, the $US30 lens system is significantly less expensive than a full-size microscope. [PloS One via Tested, Petapixel and Wired]