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Affordable Microscopes for Everyday Use

November 27, 2013

Exploring Faces in Mold

Mold face in profile

This morning, I had a craving for pâté on toast. Weird maybe, but not as weird as what I found on the pâté, which has been sitting in the refrigerator too long. Mold! I though it would be fun to see what it looks like under one of our new Explorer handheld digital microscopes and before I knew it, I was seeing strange faces in the images.

These images were taken using an Explorer Pro 1 which includes 1.3MP resolution and 10x-50x, 200x variable magnification. It took all of a few seconds to set up and I have been dodging ‘real work’ while I played with it. But it is the day before Thanksgiving, after all!

That’s what I like about these Explorer microscopes. They are easy and fun to use while you can explore all sorts of items around your house and garden.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and may your turkey be absent any sign of mold.

Mold face close-up

Dinosaur Face

Elephant Man Face


November 07, 2013

Mount Toba – Super Volcano

The Jakarta Times reported, yesterday that geologists fear that Mount Toba, on Sumatra may erupt again as a super volcano. Toba has already accounted for the largest known earthquake in the last 2 million years when it spewed out more than 2,500 cubic kilometers…that’s kilometers, not meters….of magma and which ultimately resulted in the formation of  the world’s largest quaternary caldera’s (35 x 100 km) that is now Lake Toba.

The scientists, who include Craig A. Chesner of Eastern Illinois University have identified a huge magma chamber at a depth between 20-100 kilometers. The concern is that one of the frequent earthquakes in the region could set off an eruption, which would have potentially devestating consequences.

Anau Krakatau 2009 - Photo: Iris Karinkanta

Indonesia consists of more than 13,000 islands, spread over an area the size of the United States. It has the greatest number and density of active volcanoes with 129 being actively monitored by scientists. Most volcanoes in Indonesia stretch from NW Sumatra (including Mount Toba), to the Banda Sea and are largely the result of the subduction of the Indian Ocean crust beneath the Asian tectonic plate.  As if this were not enough, there are other subductions that make the picture more complex and….more dangerous.

Unsurprisingly, it also has the largest number of historically active volcanoes (76), and the second largest number of dated eruptions (1,171)  exceeded marginally by Japan (1,274).  Indonesian eruptions have also caused the highest number of fatalities, damage to arable land, mudflows, tsunamis, domes, and pyroclastic flows. 80% of such dated eruptions have erupted since 1900 although such analysis only stretches back to the 15th century!

Volcanic Rocks, Courtesy of

Two of the most cataclysmic volcanic eruptions in recent history include the devestating eruption of Tambora in 1815 which altered the world’s weather to such an extent that, in Europe, 1816 became known as ‘the year without summer’. More famous was the  disastrous eruption of Krakatau in 1883, not so much due to the magnitude of the eruption as to the magnitude of the tsunamis. Tsunamis accounted for 30-40,000 lives and secured Krakatau’s place in the collective memory of the world.

All of these volcanic eruptions create igneous rocks of one kind or another. Under a microscope, they can help tell the story of what happened and when while also presenting a glorious array of colors and crystals. Polarizing microscopes are best used for examining such rock specimens but surface textures an colors can be viewed with our new Explorer Series Rock Hound packages.

Explorer Pro Rock Hound Microscope Package

June 27, 2013


Keep your eyes out for the new Exo Labs Focus microscope camera designed exclusively for iPads in a classroom setting. will launch it exclusively on the internet, shortly and it is a beauty!

It is the only microscope camera that includes licensed Apple technology, which accounts for its seamless operation on the iPad. Teachers – and their students – will love it! The user interface is wonderful – clean, simple and engaging – the latter of which we think is most important of all.  Kids will be drawn in to to use it and the highly intuitive menu will lead them not only to image capture, but to more advanced measuring and annotations in a heartbeat. Did I mention that it is truly plug-and-play? So many cheap microscope cameras claim to be plug-and -play, but the Focus really lives up to that claim. Instant live imaging!

For shared class work, it is easy to project on to a flat screen or you can also plug it into a projector. A couple of included adapters also turn it into its own camera irrespective of the microscope.

In short, we are delighted to be the exclusive representative of the Focus among microscope internet retailers and we will shortly be taking pre-orders……so stay Focused :)


October 23, 2008

Which Dino-Lite digital microscope should I buy?

The Dino-Lite handheld digital microscopes have become very popular over the last few months. I noticed when posting the products to that it can get a tad confusing trying to distinguish between the various models available. To help decide which Dino-Lite might be best for you, I put together a handy FAQ specifically to address that question.

Check out the Dino-Lite FAQ here. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us, either by commenting here on the blog or via e-mail at [email protected].

September 15, 2008

Video: Chris Pirillo tests the Dino-Lite digital microscope

Check out popular techie Chris Pirillo playing around with the Dino-Lite digital microscope on his show, Chris Pirillo Live.

“Would You Buy a USB Microscope?”

Dino-Lite is Dyno-mite!

Ok, forgive me for the “Good Times” reference, but Dino-Lite’s handheld digital microscopes are very nifty gadgets. I had the pleasure of playing with the Dino-Lite Pro during my first week at

At first I was clumsy with the ‘scope because of its compact size, and honestly, I’ve never been known for my steady hand. But once I found a rhythm (and a stand), I was examining everything I could get my hands on, from plants and coins to my own scalp. It’s pleasantly addictive (and sometimes a little gross depending on what you’re zooming in on).

The Dino-Lite portable microscope connects to the computer via USB and is surprisingly simple to use. It comes with DinoCapture software that’s very intuitive. I’m not the queen of patience when it comes to learning new technology, but with this software I was up and running, watching live images and capturing photos within minutes.

Given its size and simplicity, it’s easy to think of the Dino-Lite as more of a toy than an effective piece of hardware. Don’t be fooled – it packs a powerful punch at 1.3 megapixels, making it ideal for numerous industries. I can see professionals using this device for a range of applications, from forensic study and industrial inspection to medical analysis and education and research.

It’s an economic choice for personal use as well.  Serious (and not-so-serious) hobbyists are using Dino-Lite to study coins, stamps, jewelry, bugs, you name it. The Dino-Lite 311S (an entry-level model) sells for $185 on We are excited to say that we’re the exclusive distributor of Dino-Lite in the world of ‘scopes! So get your zoom on!

Originally I wanted to attach the photo I took of the skin and hair follicles on my shin, but it’s not very appealing. Here’s a coin instead. This was taken at 200x on my desk. (It’s upside down, sorry.) For a look at some better images and all the specifics, check out our Dino-Lite product page.Coin