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Isolate, prepare and image your own cheek cells at home with just a smartphone, webcam lens and a few other bits and pieces.

Step 1: Build Your #cellfie Station

The #cellfie station a very simple DIY microscope powerful enough to image human cheek cells with a smartphone. It is based on the awesome $10 smartphone microscope stage, but with some slight tweaks to the specimen stage and the higher-magnification-lens from a cheap webcam, as used in Hackteria's DIY Microscope – thanks to Marc Dusseiller for the advice (and for the original webcam lens!). All credit goes to the hacks which inspired it.

Materials required

  • 3 x carriage bolts (M8x150mm)
  • 11 x nuts (M8)
  • 12 x washers (M8)
  • 1 x knurled round nut or wing nut (M8)
  • plastic or plywood base (10-20mm x 200 x 200mm)
  • 2 sheets of plexiglass (3 x 200 x 200mm) -- for the camera stage (top) & specimen stage (middle)
  • Lens from a cheap webcam (instructions for removing the lens can be found here)
  • LED click light (often just bright daylight will work)

Carefully drill matching holes into the base, and both sheets of plexiglass in the positions shown in the diagram (for tips on how to do this you can follow the awesome instructions from the $10 smartphone microscope). Make an additional hole in the center of the plexiglass camera stage as shown, just big enough to fit your webcam lens. Fit it into the hole so that the end with the wider curved lens is flush with the top of the stage.

Assemble the parts of the stage as in the picture. The specimen stage is held down by an elastic band and can be raised or lowered to adjust focus by turning just the front knurled round nut (or, if you can't find one of those, a wing nut will do). The camera stage sits above the specimen stage and should remain fixed in position.

Ok, I have one word: Damn!!! That is so awesome!
<p>This is really coo! Do you have any pictures of when you were building your #cellfie station?</p>
<p>Thanks! Unfortunately not... next time I'm totally taking pictures - all the time. However, the steps to make it are essentially the same as in the <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/10-Smartphone-to-digital-microscope-conversion/" rel="nofollow">$10 smartphone microscope</a>.<br></p>
<p>Cool, do you get enough magnification to see Barr bodies (in female samples of course) since you are using methylene blue.</p>
<p>Awesome question... it's probably pushing it, but maybe. I'll have to have a look.</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: co-organiser of Science Hack Day Berlin (http://berlin.sciencehackday.org) and co-host of the Berlin Science Hacking MeetUp (www.meetup.com/Berlin-Science-Hacking). Hi there!
More by Lu_cyP:#cellfie: photograph your own cells with a smartphone 
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