The microscope

FAQS

Who uses the microEYE Discovery microscope?

mircroEYE DISCOVERY is designed for use in public spaces such as museums, discover centres, science centres, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens etc.  It is also used in educational programs and nature/interpretive centres.  See our "Where in the World" page to see who is currently using a microEYE DISCOVERY.

What is included in the purchase of a microEYE DISCOVERY microscope?

The purchase of a microEYE DISCOVERY microscope includes the microscope body, shroud, curved arm with LED illuminator, 12v power supply (with suitable plug for your country), a 2 metre HDMI cable, spare LED lamp and instructions.  We also offer an optional universal plinth.  A plinth is not required if the microscope will be attached directly to a display table.  We also offer a specimen turntable, a turntable extender kit and a polarising attachment as optional extras.  Please note, however - an HDTV is not included.

Are the controls motorised?

No ... motorising the controls does not necessarily make an instrument easier to use!  We have purposely kept the ZOOM and FOCUS controls as smooth, manual sliders - to mimic the operation of a traditional microscope.  We want users (young and old) to be able to control the zoom (magnification changing) and focus to suit the object being examined and learn how the two sliders affect the resulting image.

What does the microscope connect to?

The microEYE DISCOVERY microscope plugs into a HDTV or projector via an HDMI cable.  DISCOVERY's camera operates at 1080p resolution at 25/30hz (frames per second (fps)).  It is important to ensure that the HDTV selected will accept a 25/30hz (fps) signal at 1080p.

How does it connect?

An HDMI cable is supplied.  This connects to your HDTV or projector (we do not recommend using computer monitors) via one of its HDMI input connectors.  A plug pak (power supply) is also supplied for connection to your mains power (with plug fitting suitable for your country).

Why don't you supply a TV with the microscope?

We have found that each customer's needs are different.  DISCOVERY may be going into an existing exhibit or a new building.  Layout and space constraints can affect the size and placement of the TV so we leave it up to you to decide what best suits your needs.  The only thing we stress - get an HDTV (consumer type is fine) not a computer monitor.  Most computer monitors operate at HD (1080p) @ 60hz (fps).  The camera in DISCOVERY is rated at 25/30hz (fps) at full HD.

What size TV do you recommend?

The choice of screen size is an interesting one.  Biggest is not always best!  Choosing the screen size will depend on the space you have available or whether the screen is for the benefit of an individual user or an assembled group.  A useful rule of thumb is the following calculation to work out the best distance for a viewer to be away from the screen for the best viewing experience:

Divide the diagonal measurement of the screen by .84 (i.e. a 32inch TV divided by .84 = 38.09 inches - this is the minimum distance you should be from a 32inch TV for the best viewing).

We usually recommend placement of the TV above and behind the microscope (so the user can relate zoom and focus movements with what is happening on the screen) and as this will mean the user will be relatively close to the TV, a screen size from about 22 inches to 32 inches would be acceptable.  Screens larger than this will work well for viewers at a greater distance, but the user will probably be too close to the screen for optimum viewing.

 

Can I record/capture images or video?

Yes!  Although at this stage our microscopes are live video only, we can recommend a simple and cost effective third party product to capture an image or video.  Check out the range of Elgato products: 

https://www.elgato.com/en/gaming/game-capture-hd60 

Capture an image or video to your Windows laptop or Macbook while simultaneously connected to your HDTV.

What "Fields of View" and "Magnifications" are possible with the microscope?

There is sometimes confusion with the words "fields of view" and "magnification" and how they vary with TV size.  The microEYE DISCOVERY microscope uses a macrozoom lens with special internal focusing.  Because the lens has the ability to focus on flat objects and objects up to a height of around 100mm (4 inches) without having to move the object or microscope body, the fields of view and magnifications will vary depending upon that height.  Our specifications detail the various on-screen fields of view and magnifications obtainable with different object heights.

Can you hide the cables?

Yes.  We have designed the microEYE DISCOVERY microscope so that the two cables (HDMI and power) can be hidden from inquisitive hands by creating a hole in your display top (we can supply hole placement/dimensions).  You can also choose to have the cable run behind the instrument in a protective sheath (not supplied).

How long will the built-in illuminator last?

The illuminator (built into the arm of the microscope) is a high intensity, white LED spotlamp, rated for 20,000 hours.  This equates to approximately 7 years usage, assuming the microscope is on 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year!  So, in theory, you won't need another lamp for quite a while.  However, just in case your LED lamp doesn't live up to the rating above, we supply you with a spare!

The optional universal plinth also uses LED technology, in the form of a long life, high intensity white 48 LED array.

Is there a warranty?

Yes.  We offer a two year warranty for optical and mechanical components and a one year warranty for electrical components (HD camera, wiring harness and plug pak (power supply).

Are there any ongoing costs with the microscope?

No.  We have designed microEYE DISCOVERY to operate all day, every day.  This is one of the major advantages - a robust, interactive microscope with little or no maintenance.  The only part that may need replacement is the coverglass (protecting the internal lens).  It is easy to replace.  The camera and lens units are designed to operate without maintenance for long periods, however if there is a problem, we are here to help with replacement parts, advice or we will arrange a "return to base" for repair or replacement.

Where is the microEYE DISCOVERY microscope made?

It is designed, manufactured and hand assembled to order in New Zealand.

Where can I buy it?

You can purchase microEYE DISCOVERY and DISCOVERYlite exclusively from us here at Micro Imaging.  Buy direct from the manufacturer!  We fully support all our sales, worldwide.

How does the microscope attach to the plinth?

The microscope is supplied with four fixing screws and washers (M6) along with a hex key.  These are used to attach the microscope to the plinth.  The cables can be fed either between the arm and plinth (through a semi-circular cavity at the rear of the arm) or down through the aperture in the plinth.

What can the bottom lighting on the plinth be used for?

Many specimens are transparent or translucent and are able to light pass through, such as leaves, feathers, pond life, thin textiles, paper, thin rock, plant and tissue samples on microscope slides.  In these instances, light coming from below (transmitted) may well be the most appropriate way to observe specimen detail.  The plinth's high intensity LED array provides the transmitted light necessary for highlighting features on these specimens.

Why are there different acrylic stage plates supplied with the plinth?

The plinth is supplied with two types of stage plate.  One is a clear acrylic type while the other has a grey tint.  When using the plinth in its bottom illumination setup, we recommend using the clear stage plate.  When using top illumination, we recommend experimenting with the clear and grey tint stage plates.  It can be advantageous to control the background colour for some specimens when using top illumination.  The microscope's camera is sometimes challenged when trying to correctly image particularly small specimens that may be very light or dark in colour against a very light or dark background.  In these instances we strongly recommend experimenting with the grey tint stage plate (or a similarly coloured background).  A spare of both types of stage plate is supplied with the plinth.

What are the stainless steel inserts on the plinth for?

There are two stainless steel threaded inserts positioned towards the rear of plinth.  They serve two purposes.  The first is to affix the optional specimen turntable to the plinth.  The inserts can also be used for security.  On the underside of the plinth the two inserts are exposed and accept M5 screws.  By drilling into a table top and passing the appropriate length M5 screws through the holes and into the underside of the plinth, the microscope and plinth will be securely attached.

What do I get with a specimen turntable?

The turntable comes with the following components: the assembled turntable, 2x hex screws and washers (to attach to universal plinth or display table), hex key, 5x 90mm petri dishes.

What if my specimens are higher than 25mm?

Our standard turntable allows for specimens up to 25mm in height.  We offer a turntable extender kit which will accommodate larger specimens.

What if the top of my turntable gets scratched?

While we do not recommend putting anything on top of the turntable (as it can scratch the top surface), we can provide replacement turntable tops, if required.

What does the turntable extender kit consist of?

The full kit consists of the extended height spacer, 5x specimen holders, 5x slide securing rings, fixing screws and hex keys.

Can I purchase less than the full kit?

Yes.  You can purchase a single specimen holder and microscope slide securing ring with associated fixing screws (or as many as you require).  However, you must purchase the extended height spacer and you must already own a standard specimen turntable or you will need to purchase one.

What sort of polarisation is it?

We call it "Simple Polarised Light" (also referred to as linear polarisation or plane polarisation).  We use two linear polarisers; one is polarised film sandwiched between optical glass in filter form, while the other is a film, cut and shaped to fit the universal plinth.

Can it be used in conjunction with other accessories?

While you can simply put specimens on the plinth to view under polarised light, you can also use the polarising attachment with the specimen turntable or the turntable extender kit.  

Can you fit the polarising attachment to DISCOVERYlite?

Yes.  The attachment will fit DISCOVERYlite the same way it fits DISCOVERY.  However, it will be necessary to provide some sort of transmitted light that can be used in conjunction with the polarising film supplied.

Who uses DISCOVERYlite?

It is principally designed for institutions and designers who may want to fit the microscope into their own housings or exhibit designs.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PURCHASE OF A DISCOVERYLITE?

The purchase of DISCOVERYlite includes the microscope body, shroud, mounting bracket, 12volt power supply (with suitable plug for your country), an HDMI cable (with adaptor) and instructions. An optional specimen turntable (for fitting to a display table) is available.

HOW IS THE MOUNTING BRACKET USED?

The mounting bracket (made of anodised aluminium) has a number of threaded holes, positioned on various parts of the bracket to allow flexibility for the designer, fabricator or end user. The end of the bracket has four (4) M6 threaded holes. The centre threaded hole is a standard tripod thread (1/4" - 20UNC). Additionally, the horizontal part of the bracket has two (2) M6 threaded holes (drilled all the way through). A dimensional drawing is available upon request. The bracket has been machined with a number of apertures - the power and video cables can be fed through any of these apertures depending upon how the microscope (and bracket) is fitted to your display.

THE ORIENTATION OF THE IMAGE HAS BEEN SET AT THE FACTORY - CAN IT BE CHANGED TO SUIT A DIFFERENT PLACEMENT OF THE MICROSCOPE?

Yes. The orientation of the image has been set for a user using the microscope directly in front of them, with the microscope mounted vertically and with the specimen directly below the microscope. If you want to use the microscope in a different position (i.e. horizontally or if the orientation of the image on the screen is not the same as the specimen) we provide instructions on how to change image orientation using the camera's OSD (on screen display).

WHAT LIGHTING DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR DISCOVERYLITE?

DISCOVERYlite generally requires additional illumination for it to perform at its best. For most solid specimens we recommend incident/oblique or ringlight illumination, using LEDs. For transparent and translucent specimens we recommend transmitted (backlight) illumination using diffused LEDs. The microscope's camera has been preadjusted at the factory for "white balance" function for a colour temperature of 6500 degrees K (cool, white LED light source). If you are using a light source with a similar colour temperature, then it is unlikely you will need to change it. If you are using a light source with a colour temperature that is significantly different (e.g. halogen) we provide instructions on how to change the white balance using the camera's OSD (on screen display).

WHAT "FIELDS OF VIEW" AND "MAGNIFICATIONS" ARE POSSIBLE WITH DISCOVERYLITE?

There is sometimes confusion with the words "fields of view" and "magnification" and it varys with monitor size.  DISCOVERYlite uses a macrozoom lens with special internal focusing. Because the lens has the ability to focus on objects as close as 150mm and as far away as around 400mm without having to move the object or microscope body, the fields of view and magnifications will vary depending upon that height.  The Specifications detail the various on-screen fields of view and magnifications obtainable depending on the height of the specimen or the distance of the lens from the specimen.