DIY Microscope

Here is the first microscope design I created. This initial model is just a version that will be refined for a final design. I like the acrylic and metal hardware but want to refine the overall shape as well as the system for focusing the camera



And here are some images taken with the microscope…

1-3. Images of hydra

Photo on 10-30-14 at 5.16 PM

Photo on 10-9-14 at 8.00 PM #2

Photo on 10-30-14 at 5.14 PM #2


Photo on 10-30-14 at 2.47 PM

4. surface of my tongue with interesting effect from camera

Photo on 10-30-14 at 5.25 PM

5. surface of dried mycelium




Team: Yuchen Zhang, Natasha Lewandrowski, Agustin Crawford (Nevaris)

SoundSorial is an wearable instrument that creates audioscapes based on particulate matter in the surrounding environment. Our goal was to create a portable device that would allow the user to sense air quality information in a way that promotes mindfulness. We utilized the form of a pair of headphones in order to keep the device inconspicuous. However, the function of SoundSorial is to turn the wearer’s attention toward the environment rather than to provide entertainment or distraction.

PM2.5 is a designation that refers to particulate mater that is smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. In addition to health problems for humans, high levels of PM2.5 can cause haze and reduced visibility, acid rain, change the nutrient balance of coastal waters, and damage sensitive plants and animals including crops. Due to health and environmental concerns the EPA has set an annual PM2.5 standard of 35 millionths of a gram per cubic meter of air in a 24 hour period.

Air pollution is typically visualized in using graphs and charts. These mediums express air pollution as a long term issue. However long term visualizations can make the problem seem like less of an urgent threat. We posed the question, how can we help people to understand air pollution in a way that expresses the urgency, discomfort, and immediacy?

We were influenced by the idea of Dérive, a method of exploration popularized by Guy Debord of the Situationist art movement. A derive is a sort of drifting walk through the city in which participants attempt to let go of their usual motivations and allow themselves to be guided by the psychogeographic contours of the city. We were inspired by this because air pollution also creates invisible boundaries within a city. (image from
We were also inspired by the idea of meditating and mindfulness. In meditation the meditator seeks to become aware of the present moment in order to overcome the suffering that is caused by trying to hang on to past memories or focus on absent desires. Meditation is sometimes practiced through walking. We wanted to create a device that could be used during walking meditation to focus the wearer’s attention on the current state of the air around them.



Below shoes the tools that we have used in making this device.


Before we were settled on the final form of the device, we went through 3 rounds of prototyping with different materials.



In order to create a device that looks close related to nature, we decided on using wood as the enclosure of the product. Below shows how we laser cut sheets of wood and layer them on top of each other to create a three dimensional object.








Thanks to our guest artist Fabiola Einhorn for your contribution!



10585338_1489029468046190_1702751437_nI begin to build my microscope stand by using acrylic sheets. The plates are held together by a set of washers and screws. The caps and ends hold the acrylic sheets in place so the height of the microscope stand can be adjusted.

I then moved on to build a microscope stand for my Aquafarm. I imagine the microscope position could be easily moved in a x-y plotter format. The first paper prototype printed was crucial to determine suitable measurements for each acrylic piece. Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 12.12.53 AM xyplotter

The next step for this project is to create a x-y plotter microscope that can be controlled by Arduino, where users are able to moved/rotated the microscope around the aquarium with a pair of Stepper Motor and Gear & Belt. I imagine this aquarium can be live-streamed and visitors to the website may control the physical controllers to view through the microscope on the browser.

I plan to house Sakura Shrimps, Mosses, and Snails in this Aquafarm.


I haven’t settled on a final design yet, but on Wednesday night I made some cardboard prototypes. I started with a large design based on a classic microscope. I found that it was a bit overkill because the DIY microscope has a very short range of focus. I also need to include a light because the LEDs on my webcam do not work post hacking. I created the medium sized design next. At first I used a press lamp to provide the light, but it was too bright. Then I tried my phone’s flashlight, which was still too bright, so I started using the screen of my phone instead. Finally I made a small holder to fit over the phone. I put the webcam on a miniature tripod because that was the most flexible to adjust. For the final version I will probably make something in-between the 2nd and 3rd versions.


Hydra videos



{midterm} [Update] documentation et al.

Lucille: Project Narratore – Leah: Design Prototyper – Nima: Technologist
photo 1

As we expanded our research, our decision is to make an object that would confuse the smell, touch, vision and voice senses.

The important design concept here is to take the user as part of the circle, by just letting her touch the object to trigger the functions.


[a great inspiration to watch:]