Smartphone microscope can be made for under a dollar

Suppose you were a first responder, who got called out to investigate a suspicious substance found in a public place. Instead of having to transport material back to the lab, wouldn’t it be better if you could just take a microscope image with your smartphone, email that image off to a lab, then receive the analysis while on location? 
Thanks to a very inexpensive new phone attachment developed at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), that could soon be possible. The device consists of a 3D-printed plastic clip, which houses a small glass sphere. The spheres are easily purchased online, are worth about one cent each, and are commonly used in reflective airport runway markings. Although scientists have experimented with using such spheres as microscope lenses for some time, most of the systems incorporating them have been awkward, provided a relatively low level of magnification, or were difficult to align with the imaging system.
By contrast, the PNNL microscope is compact (the clip is no thicker than a phone case), it lines up easily with the phone’s camera lens, and it magnifies objects by 1,000x – this is adequate for seeing items such as anthrax spores. For applications where lower magnifications are preferable, the lab has also produced 350x and 100x versions. The former is reportedly sufficient for imaging parasites in blood samples or microbes in water, while the latter is intended more for educational use in classrooms.