• The lens is made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a polymer with the consistency of honey, dropped precisely on a preheated surface to cure. Lens curvature -- and therefore, magnification -- depends on how long and at what temperature the PDMS is heated.
  • The resulting lenses are flexible, similar to a soft contact lens, although they are thicker and slightly smaller. "Our lens can transform a smartphone camera into a microscope by simply attaching the lens without any supporting attachments or mechanism," the researchers wrote.
  • Shih estimate that it will cost about 3 cents to manufacture the lenses in bulk. A conventional, research quality microscope, by comparison, can cost $10,000. For now, researchers are producing the lenses by hand, using a hand-built device that functions similarly to an inkjet printer.

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