This project deals with simple ways to build microscopes out of cheap and easily accessible devices/parts.
A small hack to the optics of a standard webcam allows to create video data, with a magnification of around 100 to 400x (depending on the model and the setup) at a working distance of a few mm. The highest magnifications can be achieved by inverting (putting upside down) the lens. Addition of good lighting by the use of leds allows to create images using a bright-field method (shine through the stuff) or dark field method (shine from the side and look at the reflections and scattering).
Tardigrade couple recorded with 1.3 Megapixel webcam from TW, 20$
Tardigrade recorded with cheap 0.3 Megapixel webcam from TW, 5$
Blepharisma at highest magnification with cheap 0.3 Megapixel webcam from TW, 5$
Examples of Resolution
HTC HERO, 3,2-Zoll TFT-LCD Touchscreen mit HVGA-Auflösung (320 x 480)
3.2 inch = 81.28 mm
45mm / 320px = 140 micron
Beads of Thermoplastic Polymer from Struers, diameter approx 20-50 micron.
Looking at stuff, tardigrades, butterflies and amoebae…