Play soccer with amoebas on your smartphone!

3D Printed Microscope Turns Your Smartphone into ‘Amoeba PacMan’

3D printed microscope

3D printing is changing interactive education in microbiology: The new 3D printed LudusScope now lets you play soccer games with living microorganisms  – right on your smartphone.

3D printing is evolving for practical uses in so many fields – even in science education. Now, students and teachers can use 3D printing to easily create and assemble their own microscope for studying single cells.

3D Printed Microscope

3D Printed LudusScope Adds Fun Approach to Microbiology

To the delight of microbiology students, Ingmar Riedel-Kruse, an engineer from Stanford University in Connecticut, created a 3D printed, open-sourced system for learning about common microbes. He calls it the LudusScope. His aim is to make learning about microbiology more fun.

The microscope is made up of two main parts: the slide tray platform for the amoebas and a smartphone of choice. The platform is 3D printed and assembled beforehand and equipped with 4 LED lights that are attached at different angles. Each light is controlled and projected onto the amoebas using a single joystick device. The smartphone acts as a magnifier and screen to watch the cells. The cell type of focus is the Euglena, which is a kind of single-celled flagellate that is extremely attracted to light. These cells are 50–80 micrometers in length and move at different speeds depending on light conditions.

The LudusScope software is available for download to your smartphone and there are simple games that project the LED lights in different directions so you can watch the Euglena move in reaction to the light sources. In addition, you can watch helpful previews and tutorials to easily learn how the microscope works.

This 3D Printed Microscope Creates ‘Amoeba Games’

The best part of the LudusScope is that you learn through interaction with the amoebas. The software comes with several games, including PacMan mazes and also soccer ‘tournaments.’ When you flash the LED light from one direction, it shows the projected angle on the smartphone screen so you can learn how to control the movements of the Euglena as they speed up and move away from the light source.


Making the LudusScope

The LudusScope is made using only your smartphone and the 3D printed microscope. Just add your favorite amoebas or single cell organisms and enjoy the learning experience!