Manu Prakash


Origami may not strike you as the most practical way to bring microscopy to the masses in resource-starved parts of the world, but Manu Prakash is on a mission to turn ordinary, everyday materials like paper into powerful scientific and medical devices that are accessible to everyone.

To create a 'foldscope,' for example, costs less than $1. Prakash's brand of frugal innovation has meant that the 'foldscopes' and 'paperfuges' he's developed have been distributed to over 2 million students in 135 countries and have been used for everything from studying air pollution in China to testing for counterfeit drugs, and diagnosing animal and plant diseases.

His core concept is “frugal science: the idea that if you make science accessible and scalable, it will have impacts on global health and education beyond our imagination.”

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