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Smartphone Microscopy

I have several methods for capturing images from microscopes. They range from a dedicated microscope camera to connectors that allow the use of a regular camera. They work well but have the disadvantages of expense, the requirement of some technical knowledge to get the best results, and the use of a computer for display.

I was looking for a simpler method that would allow more people easier access to microscope imaging. For example, young children may have issues with looking through a microscope while trying to adjust its focus. I wanted a way for microscope slides to be displayed on the phone screen and easily stored and shared.

Most people have some type of smartphone. The cameras in recent models are very good. However, holding a camera over an eyepiece is inconvenient and not easy to do to obtain good results. Fortunately, adapters that hold smartphones and connect them with microscope eyepieces exist.

After some research I found a smartphone adapter that is well built and sufficiently flexible to accommodate a variety of makes and models.

The Swift Universal Smartphone Adapter allows adjustment to fit different smartphones and positioning of the eyepiece adapter over the phone camera. One knob controls both the camera holder and the eyepiece position. The adapter is designed for 26mm and 28mm diameter eyepieces. For convenience I purchased a 28mm eyepiece to use exclusively with the adapter. These are relatively inexpensive and can be obtained for as little as $20.

The image quality obtained is more than acceptable. My smartphone has a 12 megapixel camera and some smartphone models exceed that. For demonstration purposes I used a commercially prepared slide but the method could also be used with self-prepared slides. Stills or video can be obtained easily using the phone camera menu. The circular frame of the eyepiece can be eliminated using the zoom feature on the phone while only slightly reducing resolution. Images of the adapter and results obtained can be seen in the gallery below.

The Swift Universal Adapter provides an easy to use alternative to other methods for capturing images and video. It is particularly useful if you want to use a microscope for educational purposes.



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