This is an innovative design—a plastic mount that connects smart phones to microscopes to digitally capture and share scientific images. This is such an innovative idea, that Proto Labs made the co-founders, Andy Miller and Tess Bakke, winners of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Competition. Miller and Bakke think SkyLight, will have a big impact on global healthcare and science education. Winning this award will help them launch their product internationally.
The SkyLight mount connects any smart phone to any microscope. As a universal plastic mount, it allows older microscopes to upgrade to the digital age, and can help transform global healthcare, telemedicine, science education and research.
The device helps scientists, doctors, teachers and students use technology already at their disposal in new ways. Using the Skylight, people around the world can share images and videos through their smart phone.
Skype or FaceTime can also be used to collaborate in real-time, by enabling images from the microscope to clearly transmit to others through the smart phone. For example, with the help of the SkyLight, a healthcare worker in a third world country can capture and send diagnostic images to a trained expert able to make a vital diagnosis.
As a Cool Idea! Award recipient, Proto Labs provided SkyLight with CNC machining for prototyping, followed by injection molding tooling and the accompanying plastic parts.
“SkyLight offers users in a variety of fields the ability to digitally capture and share scientific discoveries that may otherwise not be seen and explored by others,” said Proto Labs founder and CTO Larry Lukis. “An intuitive product that is designed to further enhance healthcare, telemedicine and science education on a global level is exactly the type of innovative thinking we want to recognize with the Cool Idea! Award.”
Said SkyLight co-founder Andy Miller, “This award is especially exciting for us because Proto Labs helps to keep the total production cost minimal enough for this to be used as an educational resource throughout the world.”
SkyLight has received critical support on Kickstarter, to date receiving more than $18,000 in pledges from more than 200 backers in the community to aid in the product’s manufacturing, packaging and distribution. For every five SkyLights purchased, one will be donated for global health or educational purposes.
Cool Idea! Award is an award program offered by Proto Labs that gives product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life. During 2011, Proto Labs provided an aggregate of up to $100,000 worth of prototyping and short-run production services to award recipients. The program will be continuing throughout 2012.