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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Low-price optical microscope for school science education
Author(s): Tsutomu Hoshimiya; Masaaki Kumagai

Paper Abstract

In schools, scientific education with an optical microscope is popularly used. However, scanning apparatus for the microscope is very expensive such that the price is several times higher than the microscope itself. In order to activate children’s interest in science, a low-price scanning and imaging function unit compatible to conventional optical microscopes used in schools was designed and manufactured using a personal computer (PC) used in all elementally and middle school education. The designing of imaging apparatus includes two choices: (i) using imaging device (reflection-type), or (ii) using photo-sensor and scanning device (transmission-type). In this paper, the latter method is adopted, considering the educational effect using “Lambert-Beer’s law”. This apparatus measures optical transmittance of modulated visible light with a photo-detector, and uses audio-input unit of PC as an A/D converter. Scanning unit with a pair of pulse motor drives was also used. Control software was built on Knoppix (an operating system based on freeware Linux), however it is very easy to rewrite to Windows application. By these reasons, this apparatus is low-price (less than microscope price) so that it is one of the best candidates for science education application in schools. As a biological specimen, a wing of spider wasp (Pompilidae) was used. Measured region was 10mm×10mm and the resolution was 100×100 pixels. The photograph of original specimen and the obtained image were shown in Figures (a) and (b), respectively. The obtained image showed a well-resolved detailed structure of the wing. Scanning was done by an external scanning apparatus. However, feeding of scanning pulses through printer port to stepping motor will be available based on the same method.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 June 2007
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9665, Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, 966522 (3 June 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.2207918
Show Author Affiliations
Tsutomu Hoshimiya, Tohoku Gakuin Univ. (Japan)
Masaaki Kumagai, Tohoku Gakuin Univ. (Japan)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9665:
Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Marc Nantel, Editor(s)

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