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Microscope fun for kids

I got a new toy! A cool and inexpense USB objective microscope. This allows me to take pictures of tiny objects more easily than with a conventional Microscope.

A few years ago I bought a microscope called My First Lab Microscope, which is probably the best microscope you can get for under $100. I mean, I've used $100,000 microscopes and I was pretty impressed with this one. Anyway, it's a great tool, but not so good for group activities, so I decided to hook a web cam to it. Here is how I did it:

  1. Purchased a Microsoft VX-6000 Lifecam. This inexpensive webcam shoots 1 Megapixel photos and has a lens about the same size as the eyepiece on my Microscope. (My only regret is that it has a pretty wide field of view, so some of the pixels are wasted.)
  2. I downloaded MICAM, a freeware microscope photography application that is perfect for this activity.
  3. I loaded a test slide in the microscope, focused it, and held the camera up to the eyepiece. Then using MICAM, I adjusted the focus ring on the camera until the image was correctly focused in the viewer.
  4. I scotch-taped the camera to the eyepiece. (See the image at the right)

That's it! Easy!

Now, once you have this set up, you can spend all kinds of time looking at random stuff under the microscope. Here's some stuff I did with my one kids. (Click the thumbnails for the full-sized images):

Pixels on a cell phone screen
Hair Contest - Freja
Hair Contest - Leif
Hair Context - Mom
Hair Contest - Dad's wiskers (Winner!)
Fiber on the edge of a torn leaf
Plant Cells
Particles of Dirt (Used a flashlight to illuminate the top)
Particles of Toothpaste
Particles of Sugar
Particles of Salt
Microchip Structures
Microchip Structures
Pentium Logic