vHive logo white


Compound microscopes produce great images, but they need a solid laboratory bench. Scientists increasingly work in the field, this includes ecologists, botanists, veterinarians, aquaculture and university researchers. Travelling in tough environments is not a job for a lab microscope. The robust ioLight microscope has proved its worth in Antarctica, Alaska, the Amazon and Kazakhstan – anywhere your research takes you.

The ioLight portable microscope has a resolution of 1 micron – powerful magnification to clearly see animal and plant cells.

It is the perfect pocket microscope for teaching, training and field trips. Both student and teacher see the same image on the screen of a mobile phone or iPad and it is easy to use for children and experienced microscopists alike. Images can be displayed on a TV, pasted into homework or projected onto a classroom screen – ideal for exhibitions and public outreach without spreading eye infections.

The Problem

Diagnostic laboratories in developing nations, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa, are often tight strapped in their medical budgets. Often remotely located on fields and farms, medical treatment centres have small laboratories with limited ability to afford or house large or expensive equipment, and this scenario plays out in both human and veterinary diagnostic laboratories.
Farmer in Africa

As a result, for certain tests, there are often long delays due to the sample needing to be shipped to a different facility; which can also increase costs and lead to delays in disease diagnosis which negatively impacts health outcomes in both human and veterinary patients. The use of conventional light microscopes as a diagnostic tool often requires a facility with electricity and a skilled laboratory technologist, and as such may not fit the purpose in situations where mobility and long distances between a clinician or veterinarian and the lab are a challenge – as is often the case for veterinarians in developing country settings.

The Solution

ioLight, a British company, have developed a digital pocket microscope that goes up to the resolution of 1µm (1 micron). Making use of the screen of a separate digital device, such as a smartphone or tablet, the microscope streams the live images and video to the device. This allows the microscope to have a small form-factor, making it ideal for work in the field.

The microscope comes with its own WiFi signal to connect to a smart device, eliminating the need for any third-party wireless network. As a battery powered device, it’s ability to be charged allows it to be used in remote locations without access to constant electricity. It comes at an affordable price tag or £840, making it about a quarter of the cost of an entry-level conventional microscope used in laboratories. The 1µm resolution make it ideal in uses where the highest resolution and magnification is not required.

These features of the ioLight microscope make it an ideal fit in developing nations, where the available laboratories may be poorly equipped and difficult to access, and veterinarians have to travel long distances to remote areas to treat and diagnose livestock diseases such helminthiasis with no diagnostic tool to aid diagnosis.

More Impact Stories

A research paper written by Simon Archer focusing on the variance in calf weights and the implications of this.
A unique opportunity to develop open data projects to improve the lives of companion animals and their owners affected by COVID-19.
The Small Herds in Nigeria Exercise (SHINE) Goat Project aimed to train twenty-four animal health workers in Nigeria.