Internet of Things Microscope

We are updating the microscope using open source materials to make microscopy accessible globally

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Using a modular design based on a Raspberry PI 3, our challenge will be to update the microscope using low cost and open-source materials. We are going to build a microscope that can go anywhere! This microscope is capable of transmitting images to a screen, e-mail or internet location around the world. It will scan an entire plate to create a single high resolution image for visualization of microscopic objects. Citizen scientists can now bring a microscope anywhere and use it. Our project will increase the accessibility of students who are home-bound, unable to attend a class, or lecture to still be able to see the demonstration video and pictures of real-time microscopy. Our project will also allow developing countries to have access to previously very expensive technology. This microscope will not only be easy to build, but will cost a fraction of the price of current technology.

We are building a low cost IoT microscope based on the Raspberry Pi 3. Using easily changeable glass objectives. This microscope will provides various magnification. (40x, 100x, 400x). The microscope will scan the specimen on the x and y axis and stitch the images together to create a large and very detailed image that can be reviewed on a internet connected phone, tablet or computer. We will be making the design as low cost as possible so that anyone in the world has access to a very powerful digital microscope. Citizen scientists from around the world will soon have a new powerful tool to aid in future discoveries.

The Raspberry Pi 3 will provide the necessary I/O pins for control of the stepper drivers and Pi camera, and will also facilitate the connection to multiple devices via a WiFi connection. We are looking into software algorithms that will stitch the images together on the Pi as it scans the target. Since it also has a built -in full size HDMI port, you can also simply hook the microscope to a TV or computer screen to view the camera.

fusion - 110.68 kB - 07/10/2016 at 23:05


fusion - 123.80 kB - 07/10/2016 at 23:05


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  • 1 × Raspberry pi 3 Main controller and has built in WIFI and Bluetooth
  • 1 × Raspberry pi camera 5mp - 8mp A very common accessory for the Raspberry pi
  • 1 × 10x microscope eyepiece
  • 1 × 10x microscope objective
  • 1 × 3D printed structure parts White and black PLA or ABS

View all 17 components

  • New Github Link

    Arch Reactor09/30/2016 at 20:45 0 comments

    For those looking for our newest files. We have connected them to the Arch Reactor Github here:

    Arch Reactor Github

  • Design Revision V3

    Arch Reactor09/30/2016 at 20:30 0 comments

    Hello all o//

    I have put a lot of thought in making the microscope more usable and on the same level as other microscopes. To that end we have been designing a newer optical tube element and gearing. At the moment it is using Lego gears however we are switching to pre-made injection molded gears for reduced backlash. This newer version also adds a rotatable objective element that houses 4 objective lenses. It will also have a very nicely spun molded casing with a build it Pi foundation 7 Inch display.

    We are also incorporation the motor into the frame to reduce part count and mesh with the gear reduction. The optical tube now features a 3D printable gear rack that not only gives the design a refined look it does away with the older fishing line method that was know to slip or become non operational after a long period.

    It also has been exiting to see many individuals approaching us on the project wanting to make it there self's and has been a very rewarding project.

    Below are some sneak peaks of the design and I hope you enjoy the refinements.

    The current shell design.

    Thanks for looking and make sure to comment below!


  • Improvements being made

    Arch Reactor08/22/2016 at 14:49 0 comments

    We are moving on to a version 2 our of microscope. We have the basics working. We are now going to see if we can improve the quality of the images. They are adequate, but we want better. In addition, we are creating a custom body that will incorporate some new display features. This should help increase our refresh rate, and give better visualization of the slides.

  • Software Updates

    Arch Reactor08/03/2016 at 16:42 0 comments

    Now that we have a working prototype, we are turning to upgrades. We have recruited some new help to upgrade our software. We will be improve our web interface and begin working on the X/Y stitching application.

  • Overview of Microscope

    Arch Reactor07/10/2016 at 01:31 0 comments

    Just a quick video explaning the differnt elements of the microscope.

  • All your base are belong to us

    Arch Reactor07/10/2016 at 01:15 0 comments


    We have been busy with the electronics side of the scope. We have for a while now been wanting to place the electronics in a small enclosure that would ether attach to or lay beside the scope. However someone had a idea to make the base what holds the scope upright and the electronics.

    So I laser cut some fancy bamboo plywood into upper and lower plates that sandwich the electronics between them.

    The electronics are a Adafruit battery charger that links with a 2500 mah li-ion battery. The output feeds a newly acquired 5 amp step up DC- DC converter. The output 5 volts from the converter runs the LED, Pi 3 and Stepper motor. I added a manual 1k ohm potentiometer to the LED as I like the feel of a mechanical dimmer for the main light.

    The top most layer is very clean and is only broken up by a few elements. Though the DB9 motor power connector feeds though nicely and the black lens assembly ties well into the rest of the microscope.

    Here is a picture of the final look of the scope with the newly added bamboo base with integrated electronics. I will be adding the files over the next hour or so. This way you can make your own base if you would like.

    The images are from the updated light and base are looking very clear. Above is a picture of Taenia pisiformis or commonly called the rabbit tapeworm. You can find out more information here.

  • Stepper control from interface

    Arch Reactor07/01/2016 at 02:55 0 comments

    Tonight we were able to attach the stepper to the scope and control it via the web interface.

    The geared stepper has a full rotation of 513 steps, This translates to 1,539 steps for a large gear rotation. We have found that we roughly have 1 2/3 large gear rotations. or 2,565 steps for full travel of the z axis.

    Below is a video explaining the scope:

  • Kansas City Maker Faire

    Arch Reactor06/27/2016 at 20:56 0 comments

    The newest revision of the Microscope went to the 2016 Kansas City maker faire. There was a huge turn out and a lot of people liked the scope.

    For those who asked for a updated parts/files they have now been uploaded to this page. If you have any questions on building your own don't be afraid to ask.

  • Microscope V2

    Arch Reactor06/24/2016 at 02:38 0 comments


      We completed a major redesign of the microscope and today we are proud to release the new version of the scope. There are many new features that realign the design to a more classical look. This has many design features that I have listed below. The scope was designed to be light, easy to build, low cost, and compact.

      1. Uses common microscope eyepiece and objectives. At the moment that includes a 10x eyepiece and a 10x objective for a total of 100x magnification.
      2. It features a slide platform that was printed solid with added spring loaded metal slide holders.
      3. Side facing focusing knobs on smooth running metal ball bearings.
      4. A 160mm 3D printed tube to match the focal lengths of the glass lenses.
      5. Built in Li-poly battery to run the scope with out power infrastructure, Also a large solar array to power it in remote areas.

      Be sure to like are project and as always comments are welcome!

      Behold the microscope V2:

      I will be posting updated 3D print files soon so be on the lookout!

      Also for your viewing pleasure the first few images from the new microscope:

      The image below is a slide of Clam, Glochidia - is a microscopic larval stage of some freshwater mussels, aquatic bivalve mollusks in the families Unionidae and Margaritiferidae, the river mussels and European freshwater pearl mussels.

      This next image is of a onion root tip:

  • User Interface - Stepper controller

    Andrew Duba06/17/2016 at 02:43 0 comments

    Took the stepper motor controller script and connected it to the web interface.

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Enjoy this project?



Semenov Dmytro wrote 10/01/2016 at 17:55 point


Do you guys need any support? I'm interested in the project and want to contribute!

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bhanu423 wrote 08/16/2016 at 21:43 point

Excellent project. 

Do you have any tips for using 40x and 100x objective lenses instead of the 10x ones ? Thanks

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Arch Reactor wrote 09/30/2016 at 20:38 point

We have been able to get good images at 400x but it becomes a mater of focusing the image at any higher magnification. We are on the third version of the scope that will have higher gear reduction that should help us achieve higher magnifications. 

Arch Reactor 

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Arch Reactor wrote 06/24/2016 at 15:39 point

We have had surprising success with the ability of the camera to focus. We had long discussions, especially about fine focus. So far, it is exceeding expectations. I suspect it is partly software related, but yes it is focusing. We are still having some problems at higher maginfications.

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avishorp wrote 05/26/2016 at 06:43 point

Very nice done!

Do you have any additional optics on the RPi camera? Is it able to focus to such a short distance?

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Arch Reactor wrote 05/29/2016 at 19:30 point

We have used a few different methods of adding optics including using the default lens that comes with the scope and also a plastic lens from a laser pointer. We attempted to use glass beads as well though we could not get a clear picture. We are looking into higher quality glass lenses however we are still attempting to keep the cost low.  

Thanks for the comment!

Arch Reactor

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