Microsoft has partnered with The Open Space Agency (OSA) to build the very first 3D-printed telescope or automated robotic observatory. Standing just one meter tall, the Ultrascope harnesses the power of a Nokia Lumia 1020 phone to bring a DIY microscope to the masses.
The Open Space Agency are the geniuses behind this galaxy exploring tool and describe it as an, “Automated Robotic Observatory that would allow amateur astronomers to contribute to citizen science projects for a radically reduced cost.”
Through web connectivity provided by the internal Arduino shield, the Ultrascope is provided a known location in space (in beta tests, the International Space Station has been used), and then captures images of the defined point. The Arduino singlehandedly interprets the coordinates of the given space location and moves the motors within the Ultrascope to survey the area. After the telescope positions itself, the 1020 starts snapping images and sends them to the cloud for post-processing.
The OSA is currently working with Microsoft to develop a user-friendly mobile application for the device, but you should be able to get your hands on this DIY device in the near future. According to Nokia’s official site, “The Ultrascope is currently in beta testing and 3D plans will be downloadable from the OSA website, which can be 3D printed, laser-cut and assembled in the home. Over the next 12-18 months increasingly sophisticated models will be released, enabling enthusiasts to peer ever deeper into the stars.”
Stay up-to-date with the Ultrascope’s latest developments by following along with their Twitter feed and homepage.