With some tools, the focus lens from a cheap laser pointer, about 10 bucks’ worth of stuff from a hardware store, and 20 minutes of your time, you can build a rig that turns your smartphone into a digital microscope.
You’ll be able to magnify objects up to 175 times (which is enough to see cells), shoot high-quality macro photos, and thanks to the rig’s simplicity and sturdiness, take the rig anywhere. The clear plexiglass stages let light pass through, often negating the need for a light source.
Here’s what salt looks like through the microscope:
Here’s an elderberry:
Here’s a still from some time-lapse photos from the cells of a red onion:
The instructions for building this rig are in the video below: