View Full Version : iPhone microscope

Doug Griffith
12-17-2013, 10:27 AM
This thing started when a friend of mine questioned me whether using a laser pointer lens as a microscope actually worked. So I hit the local 99 cent store and figured out a way to align it to my phone case. It worked great. The only problem was the focal length was about 1/4 inch which was too short for what I wanted to use it for.

Here is what I came up with. It uses a lens pulled from a worn out scanner. Any time I see a scanner headed to the trash, I tear it apart and usually find one these plus a bunch of other "goodies"

Turning the large gear moves the platform up and down about 3/4"

All the little holes are for 1/8" dowel pins used during assembly for alignment.

The ring light is from a guy in Germany (madworm)

David Somers
12-17-2013, 11:02 AM
Cool idea Doug! I love microscopes and video taping through them or just using a television to watch the images live.

Do you have access to a boroscope? See if you can adapt that to it. If so, you can do some pretty cool things with it. Many of them can take C mount lenses which you would probably adapt to your rig. I used to use one when I did a lot of volunteer work with a little local teaching aquarium up in Port Angeles, WA. We would hook the boroscope up to the video camera and run a live feed from it to an LCD for visitors or volunteers. Then we would do things like aim it obliquely across the back of an urchin. Then we would brush a predatory sea star against the urchin and everyone could see the urchins defenses come out. It was amazing to watch. Another really cool example was to very very carefully insert the boroscope into an open sea scallop and then put some plankton in the tank and watch it filter feed from inside the shell. All kinds of cool things to do with it, and all along the same hardware types you are using with the microscopes.

For the scopes, I would run night time plankton drags from shore for the public and have a compound scope set up with the video camera shooting through it. All kinds of amazing critters. But one night I noticed I got a bunch of noctiluca, the dinoflagellate that is largely responsible for bioluminescense in the ocean. We shut off the lights on the scope and around the table we had setup for the event. The TV was on though and the video camera playing live from the scope. After letting it sit a few minutes we gathered everyone around and then gently tapped the slide that held them. They all lit up and we had a beautiful view of these critters against the dark background. That was a fun night.

Anyway.....have fun with this! What sort of things do you hope to do with it???

Sorry.....got excited. I love this stuff. Very un-engraving enthusiasm! <grin>