Lego artist Carl Merriman has built a fully functional compound microscope out of Lego bricks. A clever use of magnifying glasses, adjustable knobs, and LEDs gives the LEGO Microscope MkII its 10x magnification.
Like a lab-quality microscope, this one includes coarse and fine adjustment knobs, an adjustable stage with stage clips to keep the slides in place, adjustable magnification, and lights. It was originally inspired by the Lego X-Pod -- used for storing or carrying small pieces around -- which he thought resembled a deep petri dish.
“I used a planetary gear system to allow both coarse and fine adjustment of the objective ‘lens,’” he explained on Flickr last year. “A little more tinkering and I connected the focus to a magnifying glass and fiber optic light in the eyepiece, so adjusting the focus knobs would actually bring the writing on a LEGO stud in and out of focus.”
It may not be useful for examining viruses or red blood cells, but check this out:
Merriman has been building with Lego bricks for 27 years. If this creation garners 10,000 supporters, a review board will decide if it should be transformed into an actual Lego product and sold in stores around the world. You can vote for this project and others like it at the Lego Ideas (formerly Cuusoo) website.
Images: Carl Merriman via Lego Ideas