Developing the OpenFlexure Microscope towards medical use: technical and social challenges of developing globally accessible hardware for healthcare

Joe Knapper, Freya Whiteford, Daniel Rosen, William Wadsworth, Julian Stirling, Catherine Mkindi, Joram Mduda, Valerian L. Sanga, Paul T. Nyakyi, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, Elisée Jafsia, Stephane Fadanka, Kelsey Hummel, Sharmila Anandasabapathy, Richard Bowman

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The OpenFlexure Microscope is an accessible, three-dimensional-printed robotic microscope, with sufficient image quality to resolve diagnostic features including parasites and cancerous cells. As access to lab-grade microscopes is a major challenge in global healthcare, the OpenFlexure Microscope has been developed to be manufactured, maintained and used in remote environments, supporting point-of-care diagnosis. The steps taken in transforming the hardware and software from an academic prototype towards an accepted medical device include addressing technical and social challenges, and are key for any innovation targeting improved effectiveness in low-resource healthcare. This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue 'Open, reproducible hardware for microscopy'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20230257
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences
Early online date3 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2024

Data Availability Statement

This article has no additional data.


  • global health
  • microscopy
  • open source
  • pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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