Foldable mini-microscopes for everyone – IMPRESSO #23

In this edition: foldable mini-microscopes for everyone, a lucky strike against obesity and colouring garments with bacteria


Mini-Microscopes for everyone

If you hear the word “microscope”, you may think of those bulky, expensive tools in research labs. You probably haven’t heard of an invention called “Foldscopes” yet. Manu Prakash, assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, has developed these foldable mini-microscopes. They are made from paper! They achieve optical alignments of as little as 20 micrometers. And they cost less than one U.S. Dollar! Prakash plans to distribute one million Foldscope by the end of the year and I love his mission “to make the world a more curious place”. Imagine those origami-inspired paper microscopes – that come at almost no cost – in the hands of millions of curious kids. We’re looking at a transformative way to teach science. Impact at its best! Read more 


A lucky strike against obesity

Cancer researchers at Georgetown university made a surprising discovery while investigating a protein for its role in cancer. They found that a forced expression of the protein FGFBP3 (BP3 for short) resulted in significant fat mass reduction of obese mice. This could result in novel therapy approaches to reverse disorders associated with metabolic syndrome. Added bonus: BP3 is a natural protein and not an artificial drug. Hence, clinical trials could start soon and we may look at a breakthrough in the worldwide struggle against obesity and related disorders such as insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and hypertension. Read more 


Colouring garments with bacteria

With their biodesign research project “Living Colour”, two Dutch designers successfully demonstrated an alternative to the toxic chemicals currently used in the apparel industry. The solution: Bacteria that have the ability to naturally dye garments. The research projects also shows the possibility to manipulate the bacteria pigments so one can design beautiful colours and patterns. This may be a stepping stone to an essential change in the fashion industry: producing dyed apparel that is sustainable and safe – particularly for the ones making it for us! Read more