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DIY Microscopy workshop at Atelier Nord (NO)

After participating in the exceedingly successful Hackterialab2011, Øyvind Mellbye returned to Norway to pass on the technology of D.I.Y Microscopy at Atelier Nord in Oslo from 2-4.september 2011.


During the workshop we made microscopes from usb webcameras and went hunting for nematodes in the soil in the surroundings of kunstnernes hus.

Nematode SafariSamples

The basis for our microscopes in this instance was the ps3 eye camera which has good optics and a quite large image sensor. During the first day the cameras were hacked by reversing the optics and soldering LEDs to the circuit to illuminate the samples.


Then we made Baermann-funnels that simply consist of a funnel with a plastic tube and a filter separating soil and nematodes with nematodes being able to crawl through the filter and gather in the plastic tube sealed by a clothes-peg.

Baermann funnels
On the second day of the workshop we discussed various functions and practical aspects regarding the construction of the stand that should keep the sample in correct position in relation to the lens and sensor.
A workshop drawing of a microscopestand with the ability to adjust the distance between the sensor and lens for various degrees of magnification and also to focus on the sample was the starting point for the microscopes that we made.

Workshop drawing
Through the second and third day of the workshop the microscopes was finished.

Microscope in the making


For unknown reasons the Baermann-funnels didn`t turn out to be a great success teeming with nematodes, but instead a rather barren sample with sporadic specs of soil. So there is absolutely room for improvement on the funnels. Perhaps coffee filters are not the optimal choice for extracting nematodes. But this did not in any way discourage us from further microscopy. Avocado, hair, salt, eggshell, sheepfat, creamcheese, leaves and other materials was subject to the gaze of the microscope.


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