Blips microscope lens on iPhone

Screengrab via Blips/Kickstarter

You’ve never seen a zoom like this.

Cameras on smartphones have been able to capture more and more detail with every new model, but there’s yet to be one to capture the world quite like Blips, a simple and inexpensive lens that turns mobile devices into microscopes.

Created by Smart Micro Optics, an offshoot of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), the Blips lens is a patent pending technology that utilizes two thin elements—a macro and micro lens—to provide smartphones with the ability to magnify objects to a microscopic degree: up to 30 times a standard lens, or as much as 80 times with the zoom.

The lenses are made from a composite, multilayered structure that are placed on a flexible film. Instead of using glue or another sticky material that leaves residue, the film sticks to the glass of a smartphone camera thanks to electrostatic force. Blips can be left on the device permanently or taken on and off at will. 

By adding the magnification atop the existing smartphone lens, a user can still use the same camera functions while viewing objects with a new level of detail. That allows the viewer to snap high-resolution photos or film video of what they see through the makeshift microscope.

The creators of Blips claim the lens is compatible with just about every smartphone on the market, and camera sensor is rarely an issue for the accessory. 

Currently available for pre-order via IndieGoGo and priced at $17 after raising $242,400 on Kickstarter, it’s an affordable alternative for those curious about the microscopic world.


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