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Nov 13, 2019 12:50 PM ET

DIPLE - the REVOLUTIONARY microscope for any smartphone Explore the microscopic world around you with the most powerful, compact and easy-to use microscope for any smartphone or tablet

DIPLE - the REVOLUTIONARY microscope for any smartphone Explore the microscopic world around you with the most powerful, compact and easy-to use microscope for any smartphone or tablet

iCrowd Newswire - Nov 13, 2019


DIPLE – the REVOLUTIONARY microscope for any smartphone

This easy to use, compact, and portable kit transforms any smartphone and tablet into a POWERFUL microscope. Whether you use it for research, education, or just for fun, from the observation of microorganisms or cells to mineralogy and materials science, with DIPLE anyone can access the microworld in detail!

DIPLE is capable of giving you 1000x magnification using your smartphone or tablet as a monitor. Set up takes seconds – all you need to do is place your camera on the optical system. You can even take pictures and videos in HD!

To make sure that DIPLE is truly portable for exploration on the go, we have designed it to easily withstand being dropped – even from the third floor of a building (yes, we did the test!) Available in single or coupled lenses depending on the level of magnification required, such an advanced system has never been used for microscopy on smartphones. DIPLE provides an unprecedented quality of image for a budget microscope. 

The concept

After the great success of the BLIPS kits, our team needed something to get deeper into the microworld. DIPLE is the answer – a completely NEW CONCEPT, to overcome the limits of Blips for microscopic inspection at a smaller scale.

We’ve come back to Kickstarter after three years of development and we can’t wait to bring our community a new view of the world. 

Key features

LIGHT, COMPACT, AND PORTABLE: The whole DIPLE system can be taken anywhere. Measuring in at 17,6cm length, 10cm width and 4cm in height, it’s actually smaller than the box your smartphone came in!

EXTREMELY POWERFUL: You can clearly see cells, details, even bacteria! Thanks to its great optical power, you can digitally zoom the image for achieving an overall MAGNIFICATION OF 1000X before getting any pixelation.

OBJECTIVE LENS: Unlike other products, having the objective lens separate to the phone camera ensures an easier way to find the ideal focal distance, even for EXTRA THIN samples (e.g. blood cells). It also means that it does not depend on the shape of your phone, so it works with all types.

IMMERSION MICROSCOPY: The flat surfaces of the magnifying objective lenses can work when immersed in transparent liquids.

FILTERS:  DIPLE can be expanded with filters for specific needs, as its design is derived from the “infinity corrected” microscopes.

MODULAR: This means that you can upgrade your system in the future, getting new single spare parts, or use it for your own optical improvements.

DURABLE: The innovative objective lens of DIPLE is made with metal, meaning the objective lens can drop from 10 meters (33 ft) without issue.

NO FUSS:  To keep set up as simple hassle free as possible, you don’t need to remove your phone / tablet case as you would with other products

EXTRA-FINE REGULATION (SUB-MICRON) OF THE FOCAL DISTANCE. A purposefully designed mechanical system allows you to move toward or away from your sample with extreme precision, always obtaining the perfect focus.

ORIGINAL DESIGN: The patent pending design is unique, you do not have to add or clamp anything to the body of your phone.

CARRYING BOX: It’s not just a container, but a functional part of the product. It is the mechanical support for all the components when you are using the product.

AFFORDABLE PRICE: How many portable microscopes allowing you to see bacteria are sold at less than 100USD?

Nauplii (young forms) of Artemia salina, a tiny crustacean (0,5 mm) – Thanks to the Aquarium of Genoa – the largest aquarium in Europe – for providing us with the samples

Artemia salina nauplii – the length of a single individual is about half a millimeter – Taken with DIPLE Red – Thanks to the Aquarium of Genoa – the largest aquarium in Europe – for providing us with the samples

Find your perfect DIPLE

There are three versions of DIPLE:

DIPLE RED, providing 35x REAL magnifications – resolution of 3 micron, field of view of around 1 mm – to see cells, microorganisms (protozoans, rotifers, water bears…);

DIPLE GREY, providing 75x REAL magnifications – resolution of 1 micron – to see bacteria, cells, protozoans…

DIPLE BLACK, providing 150x REAL magnifications – resolution of 0,7/0,8 micron – to see cell details, bacteria…

These values must then be multiplied by the digital zoom of your device, allowing for magnification of even more than 1000x (without pixelation) and the ability to see details of less than 1 micron (1/1000 meter) in size.

How DIPLE works

DIPLE is a compact and portable box containing a light source, a stage for samples/microscope, slides and a sturdy metal plate with an optical system.

It’s straightforward to use, just lay your phone or tablet over the box, focusing the camera into the lighting hole. With the help of a magnetic guide, the objective lens and light source are automatically placed in the proper position. 

Back of the DIPLE Grey objective – on the top part you can see the magnetic guide.

Stage types

There are two different sample stages for you to pick from:

The standard stage: a simple mechanical support for your samples, where you can shift your slide manually for scanning your sample under the DIPLE lens.


The fine stage: the slide can be shifted by mechanical screws, for a precise search of microscopic targets. The box has lateral V-shaped apertures, for allowing an easy handling of the samples, or for scanning slides over a large field.

What you can see with DIPLE

There are loads of reasons for using DIPLE, whether you’re using it for research, learning, or just to see more of the world! From the observation of microorganisms or cells to mineralogy and materials science, with DIPLE, anyone can observe the microworld in detail and save it directly to your phone, in high definition.

Here are some ideas for what you could use it for:

1. See your own blood cells 

Blood samples – Taken with DIPLE Grey and Black

Take a tiny drop of blood and smear it on a plain glass slide. You should see only a light pink shadow. Cover it with a thin transparent plastic foil. Observe it like a standard prepared slide. You should process these cells with staining and fixing steps to get them to stay on the glass for a long time, and keep the red color. However, you are able to see the fresh cells for some minutes after their deposition even without more complex procedures.

In this short video you will see how to conduct this experiment to see your own red blood cells. In case you wanted to replicate this experiment please be careful: work in a proper environment and use only sterile lancets.

2. Micro-organisms

Collect some moss, keeping its roots in tact and with the dirt on, and place the sample in a small container, with a little water. Let it rest in the water for 1-2 days, in a warm climate. Take a drop of dirty water from the moss and put it on a glass slide. Take your 35x objective (in some cases also 75x will work fine) and lay it on the water. The objective can work in immersion, i.e. in direct contact with the water, or you can lay a plastic foil upon the liquid sample to keep it thin. Scan the sample under the objective, until you see some micro-organisms moving around, then you can zoom in to watch them in detail. When you’ve finished your observations, clean the objective lens with a wet tissue.

Rotifer filmed on DIPLE Grey

3. Bacteria

Create your own colony of bacteria by placing a mixture of nutrients (the most common is agar agar, usually mixed with meat broth) in a petri dish. Then, you can help the colonies grow by swabbing a place rich in bacteria like your mouth, your hands, or a handful of dirt and then swabbing the bacteria on the petri dish together with the nutrients. After doing this, you need to close the dish to avoid contamination and put it in a warm, safe place. After a few days (or, in some cases, even a few hours), you will get a nice collection of bacteria colonies, ready to be observed in detail. 


Engine exhaust samples – Taken with DIPLE Grey and Black

The particulate matter emitted by many car engines can be observed on DIPLE. In this video you will see this simple test, conducted by our team. We put a plain microscope slide near the exhaust tube of a car, stepped on the gas and then observed the result on our DIPLE set. The result is outstanding

 Actual magnification 

Most low-budget microscopes declare false or exaggerated magnifications; see this comparison between DIPLE Red, the version which provides the lower magnification (35x REAL magnifications, multiplied by digital zoom) and a standard USB microscope (with maximum declared magnification 1000x, according to the manufacturer). In this video the two microscopes examine the same prepared slide, a botanical section. You will notice that there is a huge difference in detail, quality of the image, and definition.

HOW to use DIPLE – set up in SECONDS

NOTE: The two V-shaped openings in the box are for widening the scanning area of the sample. You can shift your sample out from the box perimetry.

DIPLE parts


  •  Spring 2015 – Our first venture in microscopy begins with the creation of the initial Blips prototype
  •  January 2016 – The final prototype of Blips is complete
  •  February 2016 – SmartMicroOptics officially launches as a company
  •  Mid-2016 – Our Blips campaign goes live on Kickstarter
  •  August 2016 – The first Blips lenses are shipped to our backers
  •  Mid-2017  The first DIPLE prototype is created
  •  First months of 2018 – The DIPLE project is developed with constant improvements on optical performance, reliability, and design
  •  End of 2018/first months of 2019  The first complete prototypes are finished and sent to beta-testers
  •  Fall 2019  Based on the feedback from beta-testers, the complete, fully-functional version of DIPLE, is ready to enter the global market, and our Kickstarter campaign good to go!
  •  January 2020 – DIPLE’s manufacturing phase begins
  •  May 2020 – DIPLE is ready for shipping!

Our journey so far

Following the launch of Blips, the SMO team wanted to push the magnification on mobile devices to an even higher level. In the last three years, we have worked on the development of a completely different system, based on a new design, combining very powerful micro-lenses with an aluminium cast that protects them from any damage.

We have built prototypes, and they have been tested by scientists and researchers from top colleges and research institutions around the world, including Harvard University and the University of Cambridge.

We have also tested the durability of DIPLE. The objectives can withstand a 10-meter fall and still work perfectly! We conducted tests and launched one of our lenses from the second floor, then we used it to see red blood cells. Everything worked perfectly, as if nothing had happened! You can see the full footage of this test HERE. 

DIPLE crash test

*all devices with a distance photo camera-phone edge inferior to 45mm (1,77)

The Team

SmartMicroOptics S.r.l. (SMO) is a spin-off of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). Founded in 2016, the company made a breakthrough in the field of mobile microscopy thanks to a brand new technology, the Blips lenses & labkits, which we launched on Kickstarter in mid-2016.

Our team is young and made up of diverse personalities, with a variety of experience and skills. We’ve got the perfect combination of creativity, technical, and commercial abilities to ensure we create only high-quality products as well as deliver a reliable customer service.


DIPLE animated logo, by Artiva design

Risks and challenges

Since its establishment in 2016, SMO has been a fully independent company, steadily inserted in the market. Its first product, the Blips lenses, launched on Kickstarter, and was a great success in terms of number of backers (more than 5000, coming from more than 100 countries around the World) and customer feedback.

Our new product DIPLE will take advantage of this experience: before launching the campaign, the product was developed with great attention to detail. What can be seen in the campaign video and in the pictures are complete, fully working prototypes, which have been tested by experienced researchers and scientists. The feedback was enthusiastic, even for the first prototypes. The founder of SmartMicroOptics is experienced in start-up creation and ramp-up production.

Mass production has not been activated yet, but all parts of this process has already been designed.

The production process of all components (including all optical parts) is original and is managed internally in our laboratories in Genoa, Italy. This allows us to solve any possible problem which should arise at the launch of mass production. Saying that, we still want to inform all our backers and customers that some small delay could still be faced at the beginning of the manufacturing process set-up.

With Blips, we delivered all orders on time, when payments and customers’ data was properly communicated. Managing thousands of customers all around the world helped us provide and guarantee high-quality logistics. We created some good partnerships with couriers and post services to ship our products with no delays and in perfect conditions, in any country.

In case orders would surpass our expectations by far, we are planning to establish a branch of the company in the US, in order to provide the best possible service to all our customers in the country, as it is our main market at the moment. We will replicate this in other countries, where we see the demand.

Contact Information:

SMO SmartMicroOptics

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