What happens to smartphones that have already become obsolete? As a rule, their fate can follow one of two scenarios. The first is that the device will simply be thrown away. According to the second, it will continue to gather dust in one of the drawers for months or even years. There are still small chances of ending up in the hands of a child, as a “first smartphone”, or in the hands of an elderly person, acting as a “phone caller”.
But in Thailand, they have found a much more interesting way to use old devices. The country has launched a program at Chulalongkorn University to upgrade such devices into something useful. For example, into microscopes for schools and educational institutions. This is due to the fact that the equipment for school laboratories is not enough, and the smartphone, once it is converted, will be able to perform the same functions as a school microscope.
The project is carried out in close cooperation with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society. It foresees the retrofitting of at least 2,500 smartphones. The first 500 are already available – they were donated by the local branch of Samsung. It is known in advance that the main camera of the gadgets will be subjected to changes. The cameras will be modified by the installation of “smart lenses”, invented by Professor Sanong Akasit.
At the moment there are no other details about the project. What the “smart lens” is, too, is not known, nor is the retrofit technology itself. However, there is a snapshot showing a smartphone already converted and working in microscope mode. Judging by the image, after making the modifications, the smartphone gets the ability to magnify the image by 50 times.