To use a simple usb webcam as a microscope, only a few modifications are needed.
In short, a small hack to the optics of a standard webcam with an adjustable focus-lens, allows to create video data, with a magnification of around 100 to 400x (depending on the model) at a working distance of a few mm. The highest magnifications can be achieved by inverting (putting upside down) the lens. Addition of good lighting by the use of leds allows to create images using a bright-field method (shine through the stuff) or dark field method (look at the reflections and scattering).
Movie recorded with modified webcams: Hackteria in Berlin
see more on wetPONG
Hacking the webcam
mounting the microscope
There are many ways to finally build the microscope itself. here are a few examples from the workshop hackteria & lab_hacking @ NK, Berlin.
Simple microscope setup
Fixed, massiv and stable setup
Silicone embedded setup
Tape and cardboard setup
Magnification and Field of View
See: fieldofview for more details.
after completing the hack with the lenses, the magnification can be increased upto a field of view of 0.7 mm.
Where to get them, and which models
Am besten auf ebay aus hongkong bestellen (5-10 CHF). Billige modelle eignen sich generell am besten. an sonsten in mediamarkt oder pearl vorbei schauen (15-20 CHF).
Booklet for printing and folding (for kids and only in german)
hacking a digital camera
some notes about DIY microscopy
For more enlargement, you can not only invert the lense but also put some (iron) rings between the lense and the "webcam" and fix it with duct tape. The more rings you put between the more light you will need that you can see something. 5mm works without problems, the light from 1-2 LEDs will suffice to see the things.
For savers: A cheap solution is a standard logitech webcam, which can be bought for about 25.- SFr. --> videos(500x600), pics (3MPixel)
Links on Microscopy
- Lichtmikroskopie – Sehr guter und interaktiver Überblick der Lichtmikroskopie
- Microscopy-UK Resources
- ROTHAY HOUSE: Using the Digital Microscope, Brian J. Ford
Pd (aka Pure Data) is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. It is the third major branch of the family of patcher programming languages known as Max (Max/FTS, ISPW Max, Max/MSP, jMax, etc.) originally developed by Miller Puckette and company at IRCAM. The core of Pd is written and maintained by Miller Puckette and includes the work of many developers, making the whole package very much a community effort.
We have developed several patches for the pd_microscope
or see more here: New pd-microscope patch
Image Processing and Analysis
ImageJ is a public domain Java image processing program inspired by NIH Image for the Macintosh. It runs, either as an online applet or as a downloadable application, on any computer with a Java 1.4 or later virtual machine. Downloadable distributions are available for Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X and Linux.
Community Core Vision, CCV for short (aka tbeta), is a open source/cross-platform solution for computer vision and machine sensing. It takes an video input stream and outputs tracking data (e.g. coordinates and blob size) and events (e.g. finger down, moved and released) that are used in building multi-touch applications. CCV can interface with various web cameras and video devices as well as connect to various TUIO/OSC/XML enabled applications and supports many multi-touch lighting techniques including: FTIR, DI, DSI, and LLP with expansion planned for the future vision applications (custom modules/filters).
This project is developed and maintained by the NUI Group Community, We encourage you to get involved.
Webcam and Video
VideoLAN is a project, run by volunteers, backed-up by a non-profit organisation, which produces free and open source software for multimedia, released under the GNU General Public License.
AMCap is a small yet fully functional video capture application compatible with Microsoft DirectShow.
macam is a driver for USB webcams on Mac OS X. It allows hundreds of USB webcams to be used by many Mac OS X video-aware applications. The aim is to support as many webcams as possible.
This project aims at providing a simple GTK interface for capturing and viewing video from devices supported by the linux UVC driver, although it should also work with any v4l2 compatible device.
Command line converter of all video formats and all platforms. <a href="http://stephenjungels.com/jungels.net/articles/ffmpeg-howto.html">ffmpeg howto</a>