Extending OpenFlexure to Schools

This is a follow up to a Zoom call with Richard Bowman regarding adaptation of the OpenFlexure microscope for use in schools. The build instructions call for use of the Sangaboard, which (a) does not appear to be readily available and (b) requires soldering surface mount components to the bare board, assuming that it is possible to obtain the bare board. We think this will present a significant barrier that will discourage use in most schools.

We’re hoping to have at least a partial build in time for discussion at the National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) in Washington D.C. on September 14th. The Sangaboard appears to be a potential bottleneck. Are there any suggestions for a workaround that will enable us to proceed?

The presidents of twelve education associations will be at NTLS, so this offers an opportunity to introduce them to the OpenFlexure microscope. This would be a more productive conversation if we have a working prototytpe, or at least a partial build. Any suggestions for how we might expedite this?

Welcome to the forum @maketolearn. The Sangaboard can be replaced with an Arduino nano and the motor drivers that usually come with the little stepper motors. This is detailed as the electronics workaround. The functionality is identical to the integrated Sangaboard v0.3, the wiring is just a bit more messy. The nano converter plate in that link will only work for a Raspberry Pi 4, not a Pi 3.

@filip.ayazi has developed a prototype Sangaboard v0.5. There is a separate thread here about that with some details of how to get one, although it may not ship to your area. Sangaboard v0.5 now available - OpenFlexure Forum.

The electronics workaround references “the driver board for the 28BYJ-48 5V micro-geared stepper motor”, stating that “the board should have come with the motor.”

We use this stepper motor but in our orders from Amazon, it does not come with an included driver board. We have been using the ULN2003AN motor controller board, ordered separately. Is this the functional equivalent of the driver board that comes with stepper motor in some instances?

Yes, they are usually ULN2003 drivers.

Per preceding posts above, the goal of the OpenFlexure Microscope School Initiative is to adapt the OpenFlexure Microscope for use in schools. The following team has been assembled to work on this project. (If there are others who should be included in this effort, please note in a follow-up post.)

Make to Learn Laboratory, University of Virginia

  • Glen Bull, Director & Professor of Education
  • Jo Watts, Lab Manager

Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia

A. Assembly and Fabrication Team

  • Angela Taetsch
  • Mikayla Jackson

B. Electronics and Software Team

  • Ashley Onumonu
  • Ramya Tangirala

C. Optics Team

  • Zach Palazzotto

Science Pedagogy Team

Andrea Borowczak Andrea.Borowczak@ucf.edu
Director of Teacher Education, University of Central Florida
President, Association for Science Techer Education

Katherine Cruz-Deiter katherinecruzdeiter@gmail.com
Biology Teacher

Team Advisors

  • Biomedical Engineering Advisor: Shannon Barker (University of Virginia)
  • Optics Advisor: Michael Littman (Princeton University)
  • Software Advisor: John Maloney (MicroBlocks)
1 Like