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The USB microscopes you can buy for < $100 are all toys, suitable for a few moments of looking at pennies and your fingerprints, but not good for anything serious. The software that comes with them sucks. The field-of-view is very narrow. The variable magnification (I hesitate to call it zoom) requires you to readjust the height of the camera over the subject to focus.
If you really want to make any use of it, you will have to spend a few hundred bucks for a real microscope with a camera attachment.
I bought a "Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope with Flexible Arm Observation Stand for Windows, Mac, Linux (2 MP, 250x Magnification)" off Amazon for $35 (USD). It's cute, works and I think would work well for as a "science toy". Is it a high quality scientific instrument, no, but I suspect it's a lot easier to clean peanut butter and jelly off of and if it get knocked off a table you won't have a heart attack.
I looked at it right away - even when your post was before the inscrutable judges.
It's got a lot going for it in that fewer users (by comparison) are negative. I was hoping for a little more than it features - viewing the hairs on insect legs, for example, and bacteria, if possible (that seems iffy at the peanut-butter level).
However - it seems more likely to not disappoint if I do decide it has enough.
I'd go with something USB that VirtualDub can capture from. That way, you can make movies, time lapse, etc. However, the optics are everything, and cheaper price means cheaper optics.
My suggestion, is to get a student microscope with several different magnification settings (not via the eyepiece), and a camera mount for an inexpensive USB camera. That way, you can use the microscope without the camera, and upgrade the optics or camera if someone really gets into it.
This is the route I ended up since I inherited a student microscope. I've fashioned an adapter for my DSLR and have a fun picture of some bits of AOL.
Actually, I've a decent student microscope at home, now. Bought if for $10 at a garage sale - an insane steal. One of those wooden-box type. A couple of eyepiece, several objectives (it's not here so I'm being general about this). Up to 1000x as it stands.
I just began to look into the retro-fit cameras for this. Best of both worlds? Descent optics. I'll have to measure the eyepieces to make sure one of the adapters these cameras comes with will be good for me.
camera mount for an inexpensive USB camera.
Are you saying I could get a camera mount and use an existing camera? If so - can you send me some seed data so I can do some searches.
These aren't that encouraging - for the price, the money would be better spent on the microscope ready adapters designed for the purpose, including the camera. I have a Pi 3, but the idea of the duck-tape (abstractly) is that I don't want to make a hobby of building the microscope interface.
All of this feedback, however, is good. Eventually, the decision made with 'cut-my-loses' involved will, at least, not include disappointment.
Are you saying I could get a camera mount and use an existing camera?
Dur.. I posted some links, without explaining why..
Ideally, you need a USB camera that has no optics on it to mate to the adapter. However, that said, you can do as some of my early experiments and just duct tape a camera over the microscope where the eyepiece goes -- just be very careful nothing touches the lens or you'll scratch it.
I'm entertaining a similar interest, for myself and 2 teenage grandsons. I haven't touched a microscope since the 70s but I'm wanting a new hobby for my decliningelderly golden years. Main interest would be protozoa, grains of various minerals, etc that displays to my computer screen. This is the one I'm leaning toward buying: Click[^]
Looks like a good one to my inexperienced eye but any opinions are appreciated.
Sometimes the true reward for completing a task is not the money, but instead the satisfaction of a job well done. But it's usually the money.
is 100x the max magnification you can capture with the inbuilt camera? I understand there is further eye magification?
Hi Andrew. You are correct. The additional magnification from the eye pieces is not captured by the camera. The camera is top mounted as you noted. There is also a requirement to slightly adjust the focus when switching to viewing the camera image on a PC. We have had good success with the pictures but you won't get the 2000x displayed. Hope that helps. Tony see less
· July 28, 2016
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I had the same thoughts a few years ago for my son. It has been used a few times - but sadly didn't generate the sustained interest I wanted it to. There were unfortunately other more interesting things on the PC.
I bought a relatively cheap one from a store for about fifty bucks - you could probably get the same off e-bay for less now. My main criticisms are that it is relatively low resolution (probably related to USB-1 at the time) and it is problematic from a driver/support perspective.
If there is any advice I would give - it would be to make sure that the driver side of things is covered.
I know what you are thinking, a programming question in the lounge, what is this outrage?!
But wait! there is no code involve!
In fact I am not interested in code, it's more like a conceptual and rhetorical question.
I wonder what to do about resources in my documents editor.
The problem: I am making this fantasy documents editor.
one can create / edit: image (& icon), (fantasy) maps, text, and tabular data.
- image, map and tabular data can contain images
- text document can contain anything (i.e. text, obviously, but also table, images and map snapshots)
document come standalone. one doesn't make a "project" with multiple assets, like a C# project...
instead one create a map, or create a text document, etc...
(this seems like the right approach, just like one doesn't make "project" with word, excel, power point)
now how do these document reference each other? that's my conundrum...
idea 1: copy each sub-document in current document.
problems 1: document can easily balloon in size, with same subdocument can be added multiple times
problem 2: document can be really small, but a resource, say a background image, can be humongous in size (and repeated in multiple document) and it's hard to make a nice and concise UI to take care of that
idea 2: each resource will be reference by some custom URI
problem 1: uri scheme is difficult. if it's absolute path on disk, what if the user move the folder containing everything? is it's relative, what if the user move only that file or work on a copy in another directory
idea 3: image are copied (too bad for duplicates or big images)(by duplicates I mean I could have 5 small documents becoming 5 big documents because of 1 single huge background image), tabular data are copied in (no biggies), maps are snapshoted (i.e. what is copied: picture of are of interest + 1 or 2 hint path / URL)
problem 1: big image can waste lots space, map do not update live
anyway that's the concept I am thinking about, and wondering how to tackle in the most user friendly and efficient fashion...
Any ideas or tips?
After some though, here is a quicker and better question, perhaps...
To clarify, it's not an algorithm question at all, more like a design question...
Where should I put the stuff? copy or not?
And if I reference (some? all?) how could I reference smartly?
Also, if I reference, obviously the user can move thing around breaking all reference. But how could I improve the user experience so that he will intuitively know what to do to maintain reference?
Decided... I obviously need to pack everything together.. if the files is emailed, the file should still work!
will go with option 3 (copy image, inline table, copy map as a screenshot" + some meta data: position, zoom and hint location)
and I am gonna provide a simple resource management tool.. basically a table with (thumbnail, size and search and replace button), should be ease to make it reusable and should help with size management
If you want something usable that will save much programming time, look at programs like Xara Designer (or their cheaper versions). They even have a 'Cloud' version that appears to tackle everything you are setting out to do.
Or just have a look at their approach, and reverse engineer it with the changes you want.
I'm certain there are other programs out there, that's just one I've used in the past that your post brought to mind.
Can't give you advise about the data structure behind it - I'm guessing it is probably a list of some nature. Might even boil down to a vector of objects, but not trivial to implement.
Create a reference directory that the user specifies per the project? Or they specify the main project file, and it creates a subdirectory under that parent directory named '?Resources' (if my Dos memory is correct, ie, if the project file was called 'MyProject.jnk' a subdir would be created called MyProjectResources, with all of the files referenced placed in it.
Make it so that the references are placed in it by your program, so the files would probably be duplicated on the drive somewhere, but it gives you a sane way to copy the project around. Otherwise you risk going mad, methinks.
That would be my initial approach. Take your pick of others.
Specify a resource (e.g. a file name), defaulting to resources (files) in the same location as the document. Allow for qualification, from the default, by providing a full path (URI) or relative path (to the document). Extra points for allowing a user-chosen default folder/directory (different from the document).
Yeah, makes sense to me...my suggestion may be a bit "anti-KISS" now-a-days. I started in the era of too few bits, so I'm still fighting a tendency towards ill-advised efficiency. I'm getting better at being wasteful (and more productive), but its a constant down-hill battle
Anyhow, best of luck with your project!
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