Kickstarting an open digital microscope kit for public-spirited citizen science

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Of course, if you go that route, you don’t have the satisfaction of putting it together yourself – and wondering why it doesn’t work quite right, and kludging together a makeshift solution, and putting up with the resulting annoyances, and so on.

The micrograms on the site are pretty low quality and full of diffraction artifacts. It’s telling that the proposal doesn’t state the numerical aperture of the objectives. That’s the key figure for how small an object you can observe. Magnification factor is just a measure of the focal length, and if the magnification isn’t supported by the numerical aperture, you’ll just see a big blurry image or one full of diffraction fringes.

(Speaking as someone who has built actual microscopes and holds patents in the field.)

I wonder if this could be used to revive the Victorian art and hobby of diatom collecting and arranging.

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