Filipino engineer Jeremy De Leon has won the prestigious James Dyson Award for his invention of the keychain microscope, known as the Make-roscope.
About De Leon’s invention: The microscope, which can be attached to smartphones, enables users to view microscopic specimens easily. It magnifies samples by 125 to 400 times their actual size.
The Make-roscope is small and lightweight, which allows students to carry it like a keychain. The kit includes an information card, tweezers, keychain, cleaning cloth, blank glass slides, prepared specimen, pipette, specimen tubes and cotton swabs.
De Leon’s invention aims to revolutionize science education and make microbiology more accessible for students and teachers, offering individual portable microscopes for all.
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“There’s so much negativity during the pandemic so I wanted to give back and spread positivity. I thought of giving away 1,000 pieces of the Make-roscope,” De Leon said, according to ABS-CBN News.
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About the award: Out of 47 entries from 12 universities, De Leon won the biggest cash prize of 330,000 pesos (approximately $5,818) along with the James Dyson Award, which will fund his further research and development.
“Because of the James Dyson Award, we will expand our goal of reaching not just Filipino students, but every student in the world,” De Leon said. “So they will be engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and we will have more researchers, scientists, engineers, innovators, and especially change makers.”
De Leon’s Make-roscope will also advance to the international stage of the competition, wherein 20 inventions will be announced on Oct. 18 and the big winners on Nov. 15. The winners will reportedly be awarded up to 2,000,000 pesos (approximately $35,260) by James Dyson, a British inventor and business magnate who founded the household appliance company Dyson.
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How it all started: De Leon, a 28-year-old Manufacturing Engineering graduate of Mapua University, began his invention with a low-cost prototype using lenses from a laser pointer, a hairclip and a mobile phone.
He noted that the Make-roscope was made during the pandemic when an Innovator Challenge was posted by the Department of Science and Technology on its TikTok account. De Leon’s invention was noteworthy even in its prototype stage, as it earned first place in the #PinoyInnovator TikTok Challenge in 2021.
Additionally, De Leon secured fourth place with another invention: a flashlight microscope-projector which also utilizes mobile phones. Altogether, he earned 25,000 pesos (approximately $440) in total through the TikTok competition.
“TikTok has grown to be a home for a diverse array of creators, and we are very pleased on how this competition has highlighted Filipino talents in science and technology,” TikTok’s Head for Public Policy Kristoffer Rada said, according to The Star. “We hope to continually engage this vibrant community.”