A small startup from North Carolina is bringing close-up photography to the iPhone. Illumoscope is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for producing the device. Packages start at pledges of $25.
The Illumoscope consists of a snap-on case, attachable measured view scope and fixed view scopes, plus the iPhone app it runs on. Just snapping on the case converts your iPhone into an illuminated macro photography camera, or a digital microscope, view scope or short range borescope.
The basic set-up would be great for taking nature photography close-ups; snowflakes, small flowers, grains of sand, a butterfly’s wing or hummingbird’s feathers for example. Budding young scientists would find endless fascination exploring the world around them.
There are also plenty of more practical applications I can think of, especially with the borescope, which lets you look inside small cavities. For instance, you could use it to peer inside a lock to see what is jamming it.
Also included in some packages are observation chambers that hold small objects for observation; think insects that you want to figure out what they are.
The story behind the product is somewhat unusual. Founder Rhea Gage is an audiologist and often wished that people were able to somehow look inside their own ear in the privacy of their home, to save them the embarrassment and trouble of having someone else look in for them. One day riding in a car with her brother Lee, she thought,” what if there was a simple attachment to an everyday device such as a webcam or mobile phone that would allow them to do just that?”. During the car ride Rhea and Lee sketched out the device on some scrap paper and developed a working prototype only a few days later.
Since then the two have been tirelessly working and learning about things like laser cutting, vacuum molding, 3D printing, injection molding and iOS app development. If they achieve their Kickstarter goal of $60,000, they expect to ship the first Illumoscope kits 4-6 weeks after the campaign ends.