LudusScope: Accessible interactive smartphone microscopy for life-science education

Honesty Kim, Lukas Cyrill Gerber, Daniel Chiu, Seung Ah Lee, Nate J. Cira, Sherwin Yuyang Xia, Ingmar H. Riedel-Kruse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


For centuries, observational microscopy has greatly facilitated biology education, but we still cannot easily and playfully interact with the microscopic world we see.We therefore developed the LudusScope, an accessible, interactive do-it-yourself smartphone microscopy platformthat promotes exploratory stimulation and observation of microscopic organisms, in a design that combines the educational modalities of build, play, and inquire. The LudusScope's touchscreen and joystick allow the selection and stimulation of phototactic microorganisms such as Euglena gracilis with light. Organismal behavior is tracked and displayed in real time, enabling open and structured game play as well as scientific inquiry via quantitative experimentation. Furthermore, we used the Scratch programming language to incorporate biophysical modeling. This platformis designed as an accessible, low-cost educational kit for easy construction and expansion. User testing with both teachers and students demonstrates the educational potential of the LudusScope, and we anticipate additional synergy with the maker movement. Transforming observational microscopy into an interactive experience will make microbiology more tangible to society, and effectively support the interdisciplinary learning required by the Next Generation Science Standards.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0162602
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank members of the Riedel-Kruse lab for invaluable input and testing, R. Zimmerman for helpful discussion, P. Blikstein for valuable comments on the manuscript, and various volunteers participating in the studies. This work was supported by an NSF Cyberlearning Grant (#1324753), an NIH SBIR Grant (1R43OD021978-01), and the Stanford Graduate Fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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