An outline of the parts that make up the body of the microscope can be printed on card stock and then punched out. The additional parts include a lens, an LED for illumination and a button battery like the ones used to power a digital watch.
The principles of origami allow all the optical parts to line up properly when the scope is folded together (see more about how they’re made in the video below). Samples can be mounted to a sticky piece of tape, which takes the place of a glass microscope slide. Depending on the lens, the scope can provide up to 2,000X magnification, enough to see the parasites that cause malaria and other diseases. An individual scope can be made in different configurations for different purposes. Using certain colored LEDs for example, turns it into a fluorescent microscope capable of visualizing specific proteins or other biomolecules labeled with fluorescent dyes.