New Product Category – SkyLight – A Smartphone To Microscope Adapter Debuts On Kickstarter
November 23, 2011, Oakland, CA – The SkyLight — an inexpensive and intuitive adapter that connects any smartphone to any microscope — debuted last week on the crowdfunding website, Kickstarter.
What It is
• The SkyLight enables smartphone cameras to capture photos and videos for uploading, e-mailing, and sharing on the web and social media sites, as well as for real-time viewing on the smartphone screen or via video-conferencing software. The device is the first of its kind, as there is no other commercially available device that attaches any smartphone to any microscope. The SkyLight’s universal compatibility allows previously owned technology (microscopes) to be upgraded to the digital age with the use of a widely available technology (smartphones) – good for global health, science classrooms, and everyone else.
How It Works
•The SkyLight works by holding a smartphone camera steady over the eyepiece of a microscope precisely where the image from the microscope is formed. The SkyLight has been designed to be very intuitive – one can simply slide any smartphone into position and lock it in place.
How It’s Built
• The SkyLight is made from lightweight plastics so the entire device weighs only 4.9 ounces (less than an iPhone!). The stage that holds the smartphone is made of a rigid, translucent plastic (polycarbonate). The base and clips are made of a durable plastic (polypropelene) that can withstand flexing over and over again.
Why It’s Important
• The SkyLight will have a big social impact and make a tangible difference in individuals‘ lives. And it stands to do so through elegantly simple means – by enabling people to use technology already at their disposal in new ways.
• For example, for the health worker in Malawai, Africa, the SkyLight will enable circa 1980 microscopes to send diagnostic images to the nearest doctor, who may be separated by a great distance.
• For the middle school classroom, the SkyLight will empower students to approach microscopes, an age-old technology, as a digital device. Sharing images, either with their friends and teachers in real-time on the smartphone screen or after class with their friends on Facebook, adds a totally new element to the science classroom.
• The designers of the SkyLight are dedicated to making a difference through design, and have created the “5 to 1 Promise”, a pledge to donate one SkyLight for every five SkyLights that are purchased.
• In support of the SkyLight, Proto Labs — a leading online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of low-volume CNC machined and injection molded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production —will award the project a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award, providing free injection molding tooling and parts, if the Kickstarter financial goal is met.
ABOUT THE DESIGNERS
• Andy is passionate about design and passionate about making the world a better place. In the past, Andy studied Bioengineering and global health at Rice University working with Rice 360. He also studied industrial design at the Institutuo di Diseno in Barcelona, Spain. While at Rice, Andy designed an award-winning ruggedized and portable microscope for developing countries, which was featured on CNN and in the New York Times.
• Tess studied Geology at University of California Santa Cruz. She currently lives, works, and plays in Oakland, CA.
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