Instructables

Using a webcam to do digital video from a microscope.

I don't have windows set up for the net so it was nice to buy a cheap webcam that works right away in linux  and skype with my sister and brothers in different parts of the world.  It has a focus ring and I tried it with my microscope and prepared slide.  And then later with greeny water from plant pots in the back garden. It is actually pretty good. 
I had to use 2 software programs. I used cheese to open the webcam but it misses frames when it records its own video!  I found that opening recordmydesktop and recording the cheese window or cheese area of the desktop solves the problem.
I got the microscope second hand in a thrift store.
Next step will be to find a pond and grab some really nice samples.
I will grab pics of how I set it up in a while, but for now here is a video of a prepared slide, and focusing through it.

I did some other videos too with live specimens from the back garden but nothing really exciting. I still have to work on lighting and making the mount a bit more rigid but for a first attempt it is pretty good.
Brian

Baronrc3 years ago
Nice, I hope to do the same very soon. I have a vintage vickers microscope with one eye-piece which would be ideal for this. I spend alot of time on microscopes (I'm studying pathology) and I sometimes bring my slides home so that I can refer back to them while I'm typing up lab reports. This idea would make it much easier on my eyes.
gaiatechnician (author)  Baronrc3 years ago
Thank you very much. I really could do it a lot better but I am lazy right now and am more into other stuff. (For instance my light source is just a 40 watt bulb) so my light is awful. I should have worked on getting the webcam set up exactly right each time without fiddling but I didn't.
I have used it just for movies of protozoa, etc, they move fast so I cannot get a good picture of them. But from my perspective the videos are bluddy amazing!
I have only one prepared slide. Thats the one above.
Important thing for you is to get a little webcam with a focus ring. This is awesome for pictures on the screen. When I review a movie, I see lots of stuff that I would have missed just looking down the tube.
Unfortunately, youtube does not process all the videos. So much of my better stuff didn't make it. Also I do this in linux and it comes out as ogv video and my movie making software cannot process ogv it so it goes to the net without editing.
Certainly not ideal. Yeah, please give it a go, I did not do it justice. You can to screenshots of your slides and stick them straight into reports.
gaiatechnician (author) 3 years ago


Here is some protozoa eating smaller ones.
rimar20003 years ago
Very interesting, gaiatechnician!
gaiatechnician (author) 3 years ago
Here is the webcam type. in the picture. It has a focus ring and works in linux, windows7 and back tthrough vista to xp SP2)
Screenshot-1.png
gaiatechnician (author) 3 years ago
Here is a picture of how I attached the webcam to the microscope. It also works with the old 5 dollar microscope behind but that microscope has the shakes real bad. The one in the foreground is second hand too but it is in good condition. The special thing is that the stage moves up and down, not the turret. This is why I was able to attach directly to the turret. The piece of plastic in beside the microscope is for diffusing the light a bit from one of the lcd light things.
The webcam box is beside and I used the crock clips from the magnifier thing to hold the webcam on.
It is not perfect yet (I worry about scratches to the lens, etc) but it is way better than I expected.
Thanks Brian
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