Frequently Asked Questions
Thanks to about ten very helpful sales-people at the Best Buy store in Lynnwood, WA we can now say that the mount we designed for the iPhone also works for all of the other common phone models and brands. This includes but is not limited to Android, Samsung, Nokia, and Motorola. An exception to this is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom which has a giant lens in the center like a point-and-shoot camera. If you are still curious about whether or not your phone will work with our current mount, feel free to ask.Last updated:
After a trip to Best Buy (a large electronics store) to do some testing, we found that the cameras on all of the major tablet brands work with the MicrobeScope. The notable exceptions are the Microsoft Surface products since the cameras on these devices look out at an angle to compensate for the tilt in their stand.
We are going to create an extension to our current mount that will provide more support for these larger devices and call it "The Kickstand" in honor of all you Kickstart-ers! We will have more information on this development soon.Last updated:
After a trip to Best Buy (a large electronics store) to do some testing, the answer is maybe. In general, cameras with lenses smaller than 20 mm in diameter work, but cameras with larger lenses will be more challenging. We have used a canon 7D with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens with great success, but if you want to get professional level video you should contact us. We will have more information on this topic soon.Last updated:
No. This device is designed to view samples that are in immersion and that directly contact the lens surface. Cover slips on slides increase the distance from the focal plane to the sample. Slim plastic cover slips can be used to prevent a sample from drying out, but generally a regular microscope is your best solution if your sample is already mounted.Last updated:
Are you going to offer a slide holding device so we can preserve slides and use stains for further analysis?
It is likely that we will develop a version of this scope that will require slides and provide a stage for focus and translation later, but those changes will make it somewhat complex and fragile and therefore less well suited for beginning microscopists. We wanted to be the first company to open a window on the world of microbial life for everybody. Also, we find that video opens up a whole new aspect of field study where the video can be re-reviewed instead of the slide. For example, the social behaviors of live microbes in the field are as interesting as the microbes themselves.
Staining slides and the art of histology is something we hope people discover through their use of the MicrobeScope, but our main goal was to popularize high magnification by removing the need for immersion oil, glass slides, and high precision stages. It is easy to understand why we have struggled to achieve simplicity when you see children (and parents) use this scope. We own a $25k microscope that only gets used occasionally because it is inconvenient and time consuming even though it makes superb images. The extra effort it takes to use a fancy microscope is often not worth the effort unless advanced features are actually needed to view the specimen. When those features are needed it is usually best to find a traditional microscope. We see the need for a reasonably priced portable microscope with full functionality, but the complexity and fragility drive up costs and reduce the pool of potential customers so it is second on our list.Last updated:
We are working on a list of things to look at and how to collect samples. We should have a list ready before the scopes ship. Suggestions welcome!Last updated:
Great question. In the headline video we have included a video clip of a human hair. The size of the hair in this video may help you understand what size objects can be viewed with the MicrobeScope and give you a familiar frame of reference. We submerged the hair in a small droplet of water because a fluid enables the light to enter the lens at high angles. Mineral oil is even better than water but it makes a mess, so unless you are persnickety we recommend water (saliva is better than water but often contains skin cells and occasionally bacteria).
The hair video shows some of the hair surface features, but much of it is out of focus because the hair is much thicker, at 100microns, than the depth of focus. Generally, the depth of focus is about 1/3rd as deep as the thickness of a human hair and the best focus is really only about 1/10th as deep. The depth of focus is related to the magnification and wave nature of light, so this is a universal limitation for all microscopes. We have balanced many factors to give you the best image possible with microbes that swim close to the lens surface. Objects that are bigger than about 50microns will be visible to the unaided eye and are better suited for a less powerful microscope.
Some of the smallest things you will see will be the sub-micron features of bacteria, or the flagella on microbes used for locomotion and food collection. Brownian Motion is always cool too.Last updated:
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