Microsoft’s 3D printed telescope will bring deep space exploration to your Lumia smartphone

Saqib Shah
October 10, 2014

Microsoft claims that its new 3D printed telescope will bring deep space exploration to the masses and “reinvent astrophotography”.

The prototype device is called the Ultrascope and was invented by James Parr of the Open Space Agency (OSA).

The 3D printed Ultrascope must be self-assembled and stands one meter tall with a base that measures 65 centimetres. The device is currently in its beta stage, but the OSA promises that its current design will be posted to the organisation’s website soon, along with future modifications of the telescope.

Microsoft plans to release the device to the masses but thus far it’s stating that it users will only be able to operate it with the company’s own devices.


Therefore, if you own a Windows laptop and a top-of-the-range Nokia Lumia smartphone, this is how it will work. First your Windows laptop will locate the International Space Station and forward its co-ordinates to the Ultrascope in order to move the device’s motors. Once the telescope has positioned itself, your Nokia Lumia 1020 handset will start snapping the images it receives from the Ultrascope and send them to the cloud for processing. The reason the Lumia 1020 is being used in testing is because it contains a powerful 41MP camera, ideal for capturing those astronomical objects.

James Parr of the OSA claims the device is ideal for both deep space enthusiasts and amateur explorers alike.

“Powered by Lumia smartphones, our hope is that hundreds of Ultrascopes will be assembled, enabling a large number of people to contribute to new discoveries as they explore the night sky,” said Parr.

Microsoft plans to release the Ultrascope along with an companying Lumia app over the next 12-18 months. Check out a video of the Ultrascope in action below:

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

Share this article