microscope. Designed by engineers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, this little guy boasts a 5.3mm optical length, rendering it slim enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet powerful enough to deliver images at a scanner-like resolution of five micrometers, over a wide surface area. Fraunhofer's researchers achieved this balance by essentially tossing out the manual on traditional microscope design. Whereas most devices slowly scan areas and construct images on a piecemeal basis, this handheld uses several small imaging channels and a collection of tiny lenses to record equal sized fragments of a given surface. Unlike conventional scanner microscopes, all of these 300 x 300 square micrometer imaging channels are captured at the same time. With a single swipe, then, users can record 36 x 24 square mm shots of matchbox-sized objects, without even worrying about blurring the images with their shaky hands. The prototype is still two years away from going into production, but once it does, engineers say it could help doctors scan patients for skin cancer more easily, while also allowing bureaucrats to quickly confirm the authenticity of official documents. We can only imagine what it could do for Pac-Man. Full PR after the break.