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By Arturo Belano

A DESIGN project of a Filipino engineer from Mapua University was named as National Winner in the 2023 James Dyson Award Philippines.

The national winner ‘Make-roscope,’ is an affordable and portable keychain that turns smartphone or tablet into a microscope.

Individuals can simply place the keychain-sized microscope on top of their smartphone or tablet front camera and can have access to the microscopic world.

Make-roscope was created by Jeremy De Leon. He bested 47 other entries from 12 universities and received P330,000 as prize money.

De Leon said over 12 million students do not have access to laboratories during the pandemic.

He highlighted the challenges students and teachers faced in learning and teaching biology and life sciences due to the closure of school laboratories.

“The Make-roscope does something really cool! It uses just one special lens to make things look much bigger, up to 125 times bigger. The outside of the Make-roscope is made from a special material called food-grade silicone that is really good quality,” De Leon said.

“That means it can get wet and you can use it again and again. Instead of using gears like a machine, it has flexible arms that you can bend to make things look clearer,” he added.

Moreover, the Filipino engineer said individuals can view wet and dry specimens directly through the keychain-sized microscope.

“The Make-roscope is designed to be friendly and simple, so it’s easy to use. It’s not like a fancy microscope with lots of complicated parts. It’s more like a keychain, so kids can try it out without worrying about breaking it. It’s really small, so you can take it with you anywhere without a lot of setup,” De Leon explained.

De Leon’s entry will advance to the international stage of the competition.

The top 20 inventions will be announced on October 18 and the big winners on November 15.

The James Dyson Award is an annual international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. It is open to current and recent design engineering students and is run by the James Dyson Foundation.