Things built using LEGO bricks are awesome as they are, but become even more so when they accomplish a function. The following LEGO microscope is a great example of that.
Carl Merriam, the master builder behind this project, has been playing with LEGO bricks for 27 years. Some could say that he’s developed an obsession for the Danish plastic pieces. All these years haven’t been wasted, though, as Merriam created quite a few successful projects, as shown on his website. This time, he decided to build a microscope using the same bricks, and to make the project even better, the device is completely functional.
The builder explained in detail the steps he took for building the LEGO microscope: “This build was originally inspired by the LEGO X-Pod sets. While trying to find a use for the pod itself, I realized that it was very close to a deep petri dish. I used a planetary gear system to allow both coarse and fine adjustment of the objective ‘lens’. 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.”
As he pointed out, the objective lens is actually a LEGO magnifier, so he didn’t cheat there. The design is pretty intricate, and considering that it has been submitted for a LEGO competition, it has chances of becoming a real set. At press time, there were 2,912 supporters for this project, but with 275 more days to go, Merriam might actually be able to reach the 10,000 supporters he needs. In that scenario, LEGO launches the microscope officially and offers Merriam 1% of the royalties.
Don’t expect the LEGO microscope to be as good as a professional one used in labs. It is functional in that it does what it’s supposed to, but the results may leave a bit to be desired. Come to think of it, this project was made for children, so expectations regarding the accuracy of the microscope should be realistic. For what it is, the LEGO microscope is an impressive project, and I, for one, am curious to see what Merriam will create in the near future.