Microscopes Gone Wide


My first microscope came in a small wooden box about one-third the size of a standard shoe box (not Frye boot size!) that neatly housed the microscope and five surgical tools: two scalpels, one pair of tweezers, a spatula knife, and a pair of scissors that have never gone dull. And there was a separate wooden box for storing glass slides.

The microscope had two magnification levels, 100x and 500x, and required a light source aimed at the base where a mirror would reflect light up through a hole under the base where you placed the glass slides you wanted to look at. Naturally, this possession often led to me running down the batteries in the family flashlight because I had to look at just about anything and everything that would fit on a slide or under the scope’s lenses.

By today’s standard, that microscope was pretty much an inexpensive toy, but at the time it was definitely a tool I used on a regular basis for learning and personal projects. As I said, I would look at all and everything, from hairs to phono needles that would fit on the observation platform. It goes without saying, however that microscopes and related technologies have changed drastically since (ahem) last week.

Speaking of last week, Titan Tool Supply of Buffalo, New York introduced the ScopePad-200 camera and tablet, a unit that promises to convert any microscope into a video microscope.Essentially, users will be not only be able to view images from their microscope directly on the tablet screen, but they will be able to capture and share them. 


ScopePad-200 employs a 2-Mpixel CMOS-sensor camera that provides a 1,600 x 1,200 resolution. The camera is attached to a 7”, 800 x 460-resolution Android tablet sporting a G sensor multi-point capacitance touchscreen. The entire assembly, in turn, attaches via any C-mount adapter fortrinocular microscopes. It can also attach to any stereo or monocular microscope using the optional Titan Tool EA-200 adapter.


Another nice and useful feature  ScopePad-200 runs Android 2.2 and includes Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g wireless capability for sharing images and videos. It supports standard photo and video file formats and operates in ambient temperatures from -30°C to +70°C.  

Powered by a rechargeable Li-Polymer battery, the tablet has an adjustable, 90° viewing angle. Other features include an integrated microphone, two Class D amplified speakers, and support for a microSD card with a maximum capacity of 16 GB. The EA-200 adapter has a 0.5X lens, and 23-mm, 30-mm, and 30.5-mm eye tube adapters to fit most standard microscope eye tubes. The Titan Tool EA-200 adapter costs $135. 

So, the world of microscopes has gone quite wide since last (ahem) week. Time to look at my phono needles again, in high resolution no less!


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