The Raspberry Pi community is known for its awesome variety of DIY projects. It's even cooler when a hobby-based project turns into a usable professional tool, like this Raspberry Pi microscope project from IBM scientist Yuksel Temiz, who shared it on Reddit (opens in new tab). The Pi-powered microscope started as a side-project but quickly proved to be a useful tool for his lab at IBM.
According to an IBM Research blog post (opens in new tab) detailing the project, Temiz made the microscope because the IBM lab's microscope "kept producing bad images." Temiz's microscope works great for the maker's image processing magnification needs.
"It takes high-res pictures of small objects such as computer chips, some the size of a fingernail — with features just 10 micrometers in size (a micrometer is one thousandth of a millimeter)," the blog said.
The microscope is entirely open-source, so it's definitely possible to recreate the project yourself. It uses a Raspberry Pi, an 8MP Raspberry Pi camera, an Arduino, a Digital Video magnifying microscope lens (opens in new tab), a few 3D-printed parts and Lego bricks. The microscope camera is connected to the Raspberry Pi. While the maker's initial prototypes were completely 3D-printed, the later editions used Lego bricks to make the microscope more modular.
Temiz said it's possible to create the project without an Arduino, but the board does help simplify the process. The Arduino controls six stepper motors and can adjust the intensity of the illumination.
If you want to see how everything goes together, check out the project details on Github (opens in new tab). It has everything you need to get started. Be sure to follow Temiz (opens in new tab) on Reddit for updates on his open-source microscope and future Pi projects.