The microscope has been one of the most important medical tools since its invention in the 16th century; by allowing scientists to visibly see bacteria and any damage that may have occurred, diagnosing ailments — from infection to disease — was exponentially easier. Since a clear diagnosis is crucial to treatment, and therefore recovery, microscopes have played a vital role in saving millions of lives.
Technology has changed since that first invention, allowing for the creation of digital microscopes and hand microscopes; these have multiple applications in a variety of fields, including industrial. The digital hand microscope, however, has been particularly influential in countries like Kenya.
Due to the fact that we live in such an advanced nation, it can be difficult to consider the hardships of others. Americans have access to sophisticated medical equipment, sensitive medicines, and some of the best doctors the world has to offer. Unfortunately, there are a number of developing nations — like Kenya — that simply don’t have the funds or facilities required to obtain these luxuries for themselves.
The African country suffers from overpopulation and poor water and waste management, which has resulted in a high incidence and prevalence of water- and sanitation-related diseases. Microscopes would go a long way in the treatment of these bacterial diseases, but the limited available physical space and cost implications of having a light microscopy and trained laboratory technologist at each site have made the achievement impossible.
Portable digital hand microscopes, however, are very user-friendly and its captured images can be shared, stored, and analyzed across digital platforms. This would allow clinicians at every facility to send their findings to a remote lab technician for analysis, drastically improving efficiency by removing the time required to physically transport specimens between locations. Handheld digital microscopes also create better quality control by allowing images to be saved for future reference.
There’s no doubt that handheld microscopes are in the process of changing the world. Whether industrial workers are using inspection microscopes to examine the intricacies of machines or doctors in foreign countries are diagnosing illnesses, the digital microscope has utterly improved our lives.