About the project.
Reliable and high-quality microscopes are essential for medical education. However, in Sub-Saharan African universities, students still do not have full access to diagnostic devices like microscopes. Current microscopes are often too expensive for local universities and cannot be repaired or maintained properly. For us, shaping tomorrow means ensuring better education and good healthcare for everyone. The goal was to make microscopy more affordable for universities by designing a low-cost digital microscope. Hereby we support Sub-Saharan African universities to improve the training of medical students.
The microscope contains necessary functions to teach medical students basic methods and prepares them for their future professional practice. During the project, we worked closely with stakeholders from Kenya, Nigeria and Gabon to get valuable end-user insights into the educational context in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through multiple design iterations, we build working prototypes of varying setups and materials. We tested the final prototype with students from the Netherlands and Sub-Saharan Africa. This included ergonomic and user experience tests as well as the evaluation of cultural differences in the understanding of use cues and symbols. The WeScope has an intuitive sample positioning as well as both manual and automatic focusing. To further increase convenience, the brightness can be adjusted, magnification can be changed to up to 60x, and pictures can be taken and stored on an external hard drive.
Compared to other solutions, the WeScope is low in cost and has the advantage of having an integrated screen, so there is no need for an external computer. Additionally, it can be connected to an external projector/ HDMI monitor, which makes teamwork more accessible. It is designed to be producible and repairable in local manufacturing facilities, with the goal of supporting the local economy and ensuring availability.