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Researchers in Australia have invented a new kind of optical lens that could be combined with a smartphone camera to create a microscope for diagnosing skin cancer or identifying agricultural pests. The lens, which is simple to make and costs almost nothing to produce, consists of droplets of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) gel that have been hardened in an oven. The lens can be made without anyone having to grind or mould it, which normally requires specialized equipment and skills.

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