MicroscoPy: Build Your Own Low-cost Digital Microscope using Raspberry Pi

MicroscoPy: Build Your Own Low-cost Digital Microscope using Raspberry Pi

MicroscoPy is an open-source MICROSCOPE built using LEGO bricks, 3D-printing, Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

The project is started by Yuksel Temiz, an engineer and a designer from Switzerland, who later released it as an open-source for educational purposes.

It is released and hosted by IBM, with full instructions, video tutorials for anyone who wants to build a simple, usable digital microscope using affordable materials and resources.

We highly recommend this project for educational purposes for school, and university students, as it's fun, but also carries a high educational value.

With this project you will learn:

  1. Raspberry Pi setup
  2. Arduino setup, basic programming and configuration
  3. How to setup, configure, use and customize your camera
  4. Use motors and control your camera angles
  5. Basic Arduino and Raspberry Pi electronics
  6. 3D printing setup

Project Key Features

  • Fully motorized: Camera angle, sample position, magnification and focus can be adjusted precisely using six stepper motors.
  • Modular: Stages and modules can be arranged in any configuration depending on the application.
  • Versatile: Uniform illumination guarantees high quality imaging for a variety of samples with reflective or transparent surfaces.
  • Wide magnification range: Samples with features from several centimeters to several micrometers can be imaged without changing the objective lens.
  • Low-cost: The whole assembly costs from $200 to $400 depending on the features and the vendors of the electronic components.
  • The microscope uses a Raspberry Pi mini-computer with an 8MP camera to capture images and videos. Stepper motors and the illumination are controlled using a circuit board comprising an Arduino microcontroller, six stepper motor drivers and a high-power LED driver. All functions can be controlled from a keyboard connected to the Raspberry Pi or a separate custom-built Arduino joystick connected to the main board. LEGO bricks are used to construct the main body of the microscope to achieve a modular and easy-to-assemble design concept.

How does the microscope work?

The microscope has a simple operation principle based on changing the magnification and the focus by adjusting the relative distances between a camera, a single objective lens and a sample.

Briefly, two linear stages with stepper motors are used to adjust these distances for a continuous and wide magnification range. Four additional stepper motors tilt the camera module and change the X-Y position and rotation of the sample.

A uniform light source illuminates the sample either from an angle (reflected light) or from the bottom of the sample (transmitted light). The system can also be used as a digital water contact angle goniometer by taking cross-section images of droplets.


The project is released under the Apache-2.0 License.


  1. GitHub
  2. YouTube tutorials
  3. PDF instructions
  4. 3D Print design files

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