Microscopes were invented in the 1500s and were mostly used initially to study insects. It wasn’t until 1665 that cells were first discovered. However, ever since that time, microscopes have played a huge role in science. Being able to see at the cellular level has changed not only science but also medicine. Microscopes are regularly used to identify diseases and other micro-organisms, and have been for more than 300 years. Today’s microscopes are a bit more advanced, with digital microscopes being the norm.
Digital microscopes work a bit differently than traditional microscopes. Most of them use optics and a camera to project their images onto a computer screen. One of the most common digital microscopes in use are USB microscopes. These are low-powered microscopes that can attach to a computer. USB microscopes are often used at home or in commerce. They generally are not used for major scientific and medical purposes, because they don’t offer a lot of magnification, usually only going up to about 200 times regular size. USB microscopes for home use can cost as little as $15 or $20, while ones used in medical settings can cost thousands of dollars. Because they attach to a computer and can take and save instant pictures, they are used in medical procedures such as endoscopy.
Not all digital microscopes are USB microscopes. Many digital microscopes are used for specific purposes. For example, PCB microscopes are used in printed circuit board inspections to try to find any imperfections among the tiny components. Other types of digital microscopes, especially expensive specialized ones, may have their own screen built into them, so there is not a need to hook them up externally to a computer. More advanced types of digital microscopes may come with their own stands, so that you have a whole self contained system.
Digital microscopes, especially USB ones, have some advantages. One, of course, is their relatively low cost. Another is the fact that they are portable and easy to use. And the fact that they can be plugged into a computer means you can easily send an email of an image or print out a hard copy if you need one.
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