A project on Makezine.com has a great tutorial on how to create a microscope using the lens from a cheap laser pointer and a few other materials from your local hardware store. Once assembled, your smartphone is capable of 175x zoom — opening up a whole new world of tiny creatures, organisms and cells.
The image below is of a kitchen sponge taken using the DIY microscope.
The microscope construction has a wooden base with a plexiglass viewing platform where the laser pen lens is housed. By aligning your smartphone over this lens, the zoom effect is created.
Before you place any specimens under the camera, you’ll want to perfectly focus on the wooden board so that your images stay sharp. Tap and hold the screen (on iPhones and iPads) to enable “AF Lock” which stands for auto focus lock. This will stop any objects throwing out the focus when you slide them onto the platform.
Although it’s not the easiest project to make, it’s certainly worthwhile. It costs next to nothing to make (around $10) and it’s super portable.
View the tutorial at Makezine.