What is a Digital Microscope?
A digital microscope is a modern microscope that lacks an eyepiece, an immense difference from the traditional optical microscope. They have a digital camera which is the detector and the image output device. The display of the image is done on a computer screen or monitor, defining the microscope’s digital scope. This microscope’s light source is an inbuilt LED-source as compared to the optical microscope whose light source is accessed from outside the microscope through an eyepiece. Therefore, in the digital microscope, human optics access is eliminated since the entire apparatus has an image monitoring system. There are variants of the digital Microscope including the USB digitalized microscopes which are very expensively industrialized digital microscopes, such as the Kohler illumination and the Phase-contrast Illumination, with installed webcams and macro lenses.
The first digital Microscope was manufactured in 1986 in Tokyo, Japan which constituted a control box and a lens the was connected to the camera. This is currently known as the Hirox Co. LTD. Because of its computerized connection, it can handle very large digital data obtained from the digitalized camera installed within the microscope. In 2005, a more advanced digital microscope was manufactured which did not require a computer, instead, it had an in-built unit that constituted a monitor and a computer. In 2015, however, a new digitalized microscope was also constructed, with an external computer, that has a USB connection, which expanded on the longevity and speed of the computer. This reduced the external cable connections along the size of the computer itself was reduced. They have an image processing software, that adjusts the image brightness, enhances the contrast, scale, and crop the image.
Principle of a Digital Microscope
Digital Microscopes have the hardware and the software tools that allow its functionality in focusing and extracting an image from a specimen. Using installed software, the image from the specimen is captured that can be seen on the computer monitor screen. Depending on the software, the visualized images can be captured as still or motion videos, they can be recorded, edited, cropped, labeled, and saved. The software can also be used for measuring the image sizes, magnifying, and modification the image in several ways.
Parts of a Digital Microscope
The development of the digital Microscope takes into account two of its major functions. The Input and out functions and in this aspect, the digital microscope is made of two major parts;
- The hardware – this is majorly the analog part of the microscope, with a light source, the analog microscope, a camera, and the camera components. the Camera replaces the eyepiece of the traditional microscope. The image from the specimen gets focused on the camera and it is displayed on the computer monitor screen which is then stored and can also be processed.
- The software – This is the section of the microscope that has the camera drivers and the image processing software, which has organized units which include the viewer unit, brightness adjustment unit, image contrast unit, histogram equalization unit, image scaling unit and the image cropping unit. The image viewer unit continuously displays the specimen and captures the image from the microscope which is stored and processed depending on the user’s preferences. The image brightness adjustment unit enhances the brightness of the image depending on how much light is focused on the specimen. It controls the intensity of the light in pixels. The image brightness adjustment takes place in a grayscale transformation represented by an equation:
- Jo = Ji + C, (whereby Jo is the output image, Ji is the input image and C is the brightness adjustment constant). The C is set in positive value to increase the brightness and in negative value to reduce the brightness.
- The image contrast enhancement unit functions in adjusting the image contrast. Lower contracts show a narrow histogram while high contrast is shown by wide histogram is intended to adjust the contrast of an image.
Types of Digital Microscopes
Depending on the function of the microscope and the users, different digital microscopes have been manufactured and labeled, with most of them being portable and easy to use. Use can vary from biomedical to industrial functions. These microscopes are combined with high-quality digital microscope cameras and a computer monitor screen.
- Biological Digital Microscopes: These are high magnification microscopes, that have a light source installed beneath the mechanical stage, with an objective of 4x-100x with halogen or LED illumination.
- Fluorescence Digital Microscopes: These are optical microscopes that use fluorescence and phosphorescence as their sources of light to generate an image.
- Inverted digital Microscopes: These are trinocular microscopes whose light source and the condenser are located at the top of the stage and the objectives, below the stage.
- Metallurgical digital Microscopes: They are designed to view metallic surfaces, wire circuits and/or opaque surfaces.
- Phase digital Microscopes: These can be inverted or upright microscopes used to observe specimens that are not stained which can either be live or dead.
- Stereo Digital Microscopes: They reflect light out of the specimen, and it is used to view electric components, artifacts, Plants, circuitry and Art.
- Polarizing Digital Microscopes: This is a special type of digital video camera with a combination of a high magnification lens and multi-ultra-bright LEDs. They can evaluate 3D structures and compositions of anisotropic specimens, using polarized light that forms light wave vibrations in a single direction.
- Digital USB Microscopes: These are microscopes that are connected to a computer via a USB connector. They have a permanently connected camera, unlike most of the digital microscopes whose cameras are connected with a C-mount adapter and can be removed.
- Handheld Digital Microscopes: They are very modern digital microscopes that are integrated into a handheld microscope system and used for inspection of surfaces and forensics.
- Portable digital Microscopes: They are small digital microscopes with installed wireless systems. they are used to view surfaces that are hard to reach and hence they are majorly used for medical surfaces, field inspection and for dermatological studies.
Jiusion digital microscope
These are the portable handheld microscope is a useful and funny magnification for kids, children, students, engineers and others who need to magnify and explore the micro things like a circuit board, coin, jewelry, skin, and insect.
Figure: Jiusion digital microscope. Image Source: Jiusion.
Focus Range: from 10mm to 250mm
Frame Rate: Max 30f/s under 600 Lux Brightness
Magnification Ratio: 40x to 1000x
Video format: AVI
Photo format: JPEG or BMP
Light source: 8 LED (adjustable by control wheel)
PC interface: USB2.0
Power source: 5V DC from the USB port
Operation system: Windows 7 8 10/Vista/XP/2000, Mac OS X 10.5 or above, some of Android mobiles, Linux, Chrome
Bundle software: MicroCapture with measurement & calibration function
System Requirement Pentium Computer with 700M Hz &Above, 20M HD Space
CD ROM Measure Tool: Micro-Measure (It can measure Length and diameters, angle, the perimeter, area, etc on Windows).
Click here to buy Jiusion digital microscope from Amazon.
Celestron digital microscope
The Celestron Handheld Digital Microscope Pro is an easy-to-use, low-power microscope with a 5.0 MP sensor for capturing photos and video of your discoveries. At low magnification, the Handheld Digital Microscope Pro is ideal for viewing stamps, coins, bugs, plants, rocks, skin, gems, circuit boards, and more. You can even view traditional slides at high magnification.
Figure: Celestron digital microscope. Image Source: Celestron.
Create high-resolution images, VGA quality video, and time-lapse animations using the included Micro Capture Pro software. You can also take accurate measurements and make notes on your specimens using this intuitive software. An adjustable LED illuminator ensures your specimens are clear and bright, while the fully adjustable, professional stand allows for steady shots even at high magnification.
Intended for the discriminating hobbyist or professional, the Handheld Digital Microscope Pro is well suited for jobs such as entomology, industrial quality control, component inspection, medical investigation, scientific research, and forensics documentation—just to name a few.
- High-quality adjustable height stand
- Celestron Micro Capture Pro Software
- Calibration ruler
Click here to buy Celestron digital microscope from Amazon.
Digital microscopes software
Uses of Digital Microscopes
They are used in a variety of fields from medical studies to industrial applications. these include:
- Cytological studies
- Brewing industries
- Water and Waste Treatment Industries
- Dental studies
- Fetal and embryonic Transplant studies
- Microsurgical procedures
- Transplantation procedures
Advantages of Digital Microscopes
- They provide high-resolution magnification of the images in pixels.
- It can tilt and provide 2D and 3D image measurements.
- They can store huge amounts of data, through imaging and recording movable and unmovable specimens
- They are one-stop operation machines since the visualize the images and provide an output of the images through the computer monitors.
- Some of them can be purchased at a cheap price.
Limitations of Digital Microscopes
- Some of them are expensive to manufacture and costly to purchase.
- They may require training for them to be used.
References and Sources