A few years ago, a friend gave Jonah what I think is the coolest toy ever: an Eyeclops Bionic Eye, which is a hand-held multi-zoom LED-lit microscope that plugs into any TV that has a composite video jack (the yellow one.) (Here’s a video demo of the model that we have.) I’ve always wanted to find a way to grab images from the Eyeclops and share them but that is impossible out-of-the-box without additional equipment though supposedly a later version adds this functionality. Now I am finally able to connect the Eyeclops to my computer as I picked up a USB video capture dongle (mine’s made by Roxio) that allows you to hook up your VCR or other analog video source to a computer and digitize video from VHS or Hi8 tapes (it should work for audio cassette tapes and vinyl records as well.) Using software called VideoGlide, I was able to take some snapshots and create the pictures below. The full version of VideoGlide costs $30 but the limited free demo of the tool allows you to use it for 10 minutes max at a time, which is plenty of time to produce some nifty images. I couldn’t find any truly free video digitizer software for the Mac but there seem to be a number of good options for PC users. Now that I can digitize its output, I’m really looking forward to revisiting the Eyeclops to see what kind of stuff the kids and I could do with it. There’s some potential here for ds106 too. Maybe we’ll produce the first ds106 microscopic digital story.

VideoGlide puts out images at 640×480. Click on the images below to see the full size version.

My wedding band at 100x magnification.

Ink on a Post-It note at 100x magnification.

Same at 400x

Essay Writing Keys Printed photograph at 400x magnification

Denim at 400x

Hairs at 100x

Algorithm Homework Help Face from a 1950s photograph at 100x

Mouth of a Russian matryoshka doll at 400x

Detail from same at 100x

Ditto at 100x

Phd Thesis Game Theory Printing on a plastic pen at 100x

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2 Responses to DIY Digital Microscopy

  1. This thing looks pretty cool, and I suspect these would fit well into the “journey” theme if you take a microscopic fantastic voyage approach. 

    You might try using Quicktime as a capture device, it usually recognizes any USB video signal (look in the preferences for video sources, then choose file>new video recording). If the new Quicktime doesn’t work, download the old version 7.  

  2. MikhailNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks, MBS. The current version of QT recognizes the audio input from the USB vid capture device, but not the video. Going to try QT 7.

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