This fully functional microscope is built entirely out of Lego

Collecting votes now on Lego Ideas is a fully functional microscope -- constructed entirely out of Lego bricks.

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Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
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2 min read

Carl Merriam

Lego Ideas -- formerly Cuusoo -- has seen some pretty great sets come to life, with the high-profile Ghostbusters set really highlighting the power of fan love, but it's science and research that has seen the most success, with the female scientists set and several real-life spacecraft hitting the consumer market.

This project, however, brings a more practical application to Lego science. Lego artist Carl Merriam has created a fully functional all-Lego microscope and submitted it to the site. However, although it's a fascinating idea, Merriam actually uploaded it in July of last year, where it somehow managed to fly under the radar. With 281 days left to vote on the project, we thought it deserved a bit more attention.

"This build was originally inspired by the LEGO X-Pod sets. While trying to find a use for the pod itself, I realized that it was very close to a deep petri dish," he wrote last year. "I used a planetary gear system to allow both coarse and fine adjustment of the objective 'lens'. A little more tinkering and I connected the focus to a magnifying glass and fiber optic light in the eyepiece, so adjusting the focus knobs would actually bring the writing on a LEGO stud in and out of focus."

Carl Merriam

The microscope has since been refined, and can now be used to achieve a magnification of 10x using actual Lego magnifying glasses, with lighting provided by the LED Power Functions Light. Other features include adjustment knobs for an adjustable stage and magnification, and silver swords to hold the slides in place.

The microscope needs 10,000 votes on Lego Ideas to be considered by Lego for an official set. If you like the idea, head on over to the project page (you'll need a free Lego ID to vote on projects) and give it your support.