Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Up Close and Personal: Building and Using A $3.00 Digital Microscope

This DIY digital microscope project looked like a no-brainer to experiment with. So, I did. What makes the project work is the lens from a cheapy keychain laser pointer. I picked one up at CVS (the Laser Chase II) for under $3.00:

I took a needle nose pliars to it and ripped it shreds. When I was done, I had the tiny lens extracted. As suggested here, I mounted the lens by fitting it into a bobby pin and taping the bobby pin to the phone. Here was my setup, minus a tripod:

Yes, I'm using a bit Play-Doh to keep the flashlight upright in that plastic cup. And yes, I used the packaging of the laser pointer to make a slide and base for my samples. Hey, use what you've got, right?

And the results? Well, I certainly got up-close photos. I'm not sure I really captured anything that remarkable, but I'll have to keep an eye out for some more interesting specimens. The photos below are of a snippet of leaf and my saliva. As quick experiments go, I've got to say, this is a fun one. For $3.00 and 20 minutes of your time, it's hard to beat.

What the video that inspired this all:

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