Exploring the Microscopic World with a Digital Microscope

How exciting! I just got a digital microscope from the Curiosity shop in the Singapore Science Centre!

Digital Microscope
This device has a built-in lamp to illuminate whatever object you are observing. You can adjust the brightness of the lamp using the control on the cable.


I saw it a couple of weeks ago, but was hesitant to get it. Other than the fact that it’s a cool gadget to have, what else could I use it for? It wasn’t that cheap either. It costs SGD$69. But I’ve been researching over the past days, and found that even though it is an item with an unknown brand, there are quite a number of very good reviews online. The biggest draw factor was the fact it is capable of capturing very sharp images despite its resolution of 640 x 480 pixels.

Not bad actually.

So after many days of deliberation, I finally got it.

Here’s the box:

Digital Microscope

Don’t be fooled by the packaging. The other side of the box says that it’s a wireless microscope that allows you to connect your Android/iPhone to it by wifi. It seems that the Singapore Science Centre only carries the USB-cable version.

The irony is that even though the box says that it’s compatible with Windows, I’ve had problems getting it to work on a Windows 7 PC. Surprisingly, it works perfectly fine on my Macbook Air. There’s no need to install drivers, and I can simply open up Mac OS X’s build-in Photobooth app.

Essentially, this is just a generic webcam with a microscope lens and an LED lamp attached to it. So it’ll work with any program that can open up feeds from a webcam. You could skype with this too!

Here’s a screenshot of it working perfectly fine on my Mac:

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 3.57.17 pm
Zooming in on a leather strap at maximum magnification (500x).

Over the past few days, I’ve been exploring the world around me with great curiosity. What would things look like under the microscope?

Well, I certainly had lots of fun. Here’s what I’ve found!

Here’s a close-up of my coaster (made of acrylic and copper):

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.06 pm


Here’s a close-up of my fountain pen nib:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.12 pm #2


Here’s a close-up of my jeans:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.24 pm


The same jeans at 500x magnification:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.24 pm #3


Here’s a close-up of my t-shirt:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.29 pm


The same t-shirt at 500x magnification:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.29 pm #2


Here’s a close up of a line that I drew on a piece of paper:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.32 pm


The same line at 500x magnification:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.33 pm


500x magnification of my handphone’s screen. The red, green and blue are sub-pixels that form one single pixel on the screen. To the naked eye, it appears as the colour, white! The dark little patch on the upper-right hand corner is a part of the letter “C”.

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.34 pm


This is how a fingernail looks like at 500x:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.56 pm #2


A close up of my arm:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 9.56 pm


The Macbook’s Command key at 500x:

Photo on 3-4-15 at 10.05 pm


Here’s a close-up of a half-eaten cookie!

Photo on 3-4-15 at 10.08 pm


This is a close up of a Singapore $10 note. The letters, “MAS,” are repeated over and over to create the shadow underneath the “10” on the note.

Photo on 3-4-15 at 10.24 pm


Here’s a close-up of the Singapore 20 cent coin. The lion looks more like a gargoyle.

Photo on 3-4-15 at 10.27 pm


This is a 500x close-up of a sticker featuring a brown illustrated cat.

Photo on 5-4-15 at 3.45 pm


A close-up of the Malaysian 20 cent coin.

Photo on 5-4-15 at 3.49 pm


The same coin at 500x magnification.

Photo on 5-4-15 at 3.48 pm #2


At 500x, this rubber band looks really gross.

Photo on 5-4-15 at 3.48 pm


Zooming in on my camera’s lens.

Photo on 5-4-15 at 3.51 pm


My camera’s leather strap, at 500x:

Photo on 5-4-15 at 3.56 pm


The microscopic world is a very strange place!