Sunday, June 6, 2010

I love my usb microscope

--- Warning - LOW-VOLTAGE ---
Notice: This post contains an unusually-low voltage-rating. If you're only here for the sparks, you can skip it. But it is still nerdy DIY sciency stuff, I promise.

I have a super cheap hand-held microscope that has the nifty feature of plugging into usb and being recognized by generic webcam software. Once in a while I pull it out and spend a few hours being a huge nerd and taking silly picture of tiny things.

I sat down and was going to look for tiny fractals on my artificial fulgurites like I'd seen at hackerbot labs on a microscope that didn't have a convenient save-function. I got a few snaps, but quickly got distracted because I realized I had a couple dead bugs laying around from some sort of invasion I had a few nights back. The pinnacle was when I grabbed a wasp out of the air with my leatherman, but didn't kill him (unfortunately, he tragically suffocated that night in a sealed jar). Also there was a dead spider I have for reasons I'd rather not discuss.

What I learned: Insects look way cooler under microscopes than boring ol' melted sand.

Let me show you.

Here is some boring impurity involving chemistry I don't understand. Its yellow and red up close, which is kinda neat, cuz its just an orange dot normally...

Fulgurite Impurity

Here is the tip of a quartz-sand artificial fulgurite. Its kinda white, and kinda glassy... about like you'd expect... yep...

Fulgurite Tip Zoom

Then I turned the the spider.

If you're super-squeamish about spiders and wasps this is where you stop.

Know the face of your enemy:

spider face

And if they ever get large, we have analyze their joints for weakness:

spider joint

But even the mighty-spider couldn't beat the photo-charisma of the wasp:

It looks sad... I think its the eyes.

wasp face 3

But seriously... its back is filthy.

wasp back close

I need to get some better pictures of its wings.

wasp wing 3

Its mouth-parts are ferocious!

wasp mouth 2

And its compound-eye and antenna are pristine.

wasp eye 1

wasp eye 2

The rest of my microscopic antics are in this flickr set.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty neat. When did you do all this? MOM