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Laboratory Uses of the Digimicro 200x Zooming USB Digital Microscope

written by: Cyndi Root•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 5/21/2010

USB digital microscopes have broadened the horizons of scientists in the laboratory and in the field. These hand held instruments can view objects in their natural environments, capture and store long-lasting digital images.

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    The laboratory uses of the Digimicro 200x Zooming USB Digital Microscope are many, as the instrument turns the computer into a television. The microscope is connected to the computer with a USB port. This allows any investigator to carry a microscope along with their computer, into the field and away from the laboratory. In the laboratory, a scientist can hold a USB microscope in his hand or position it in a microscope stand to examine objects not available to be sampled with a traditional microscope that sits on a lab bench.

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    USB Digital Capabilities

    The digital microscope has photo, video and live viewing capabalities. One or more people can view the specimen at a time, and collaborate across distances with video conferences. While a USB microscope magnifies 200x and a traditional microscope can magnify up to 1000x, the resolution of the USB is sharp and crisp. Digital photos and videos don't lose contrast and resolution over time, and don't corrupt and deteriorate easily. The scientist can examine almost any object, capture and store the image and share the results with others instantaneously.

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    Biological, Industrial and Interdisciplinary Laboratories

    Biology - Life studies including but not limited to biochemistry, ecology, physiology, and molecular biology. For instance, the heart rate of a daphnia, an arthropod, has been measured by immobilizing it with petroleum jelly. A USB microscope could be rigged to follow the daphnia in it's natural movements.

    Botany - Study of plant life including fungi, plants and algae. A USB microscope could help with problems like ozone depletion by monitoring ultraviolet radiation or the effects of light/dark cycles on plant flowering.

    Forensics - Analysis, comparison and identification of fibers, metals, insects, geological samples, poisons and toxins, documents, papers, inks, bullets, hair fibers, carpet and clothing fibers, paint chips, handwriting, soil samples, fingerprints, and other trace evidence. The USB microscope could help reduce contamination from sampling by aiming the microscope directly on the object without moving it.

    Geology - The properties and materials which form and change the earth; origin, economic importance of minerals and rocks. Big or odd shaped rocks can be examined.

    Entymology - The study of insects. The study of the effects of pesticides could be improved, as well as identification and classification of insects that impact U.S. agriculture and security.

    Manufacturing - Quality control science. The fastening points or welds of a product could be more closely examined for quality and endurance.

    Medical - The study and improvement of human and animal life. The laboratory uses of the Digimicro 200x Zooming USB Digital Microscope: A USB microscope was used to more accurately place a patient on a table for radiotherapy treatment. Scientists were able to use the microscope to view the brain of a living rat, including the growth of new brain cells.