I’d better ‘fess up right now and warn you that there is some serious geeking going on in this blog post. Of course, if I was a PROPER neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie then I’d have been looking at a microscope specimen preserved in a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution rather than 100% agave gold tequila (p.s. if you drink tequila you’re supporting bat conservation – the agave cactus is pollinated by bats! Margarita, anyone??), but I digress…
eyeMicroscope from Perceptive Development (indie band?) is a nifty little iPhone app which takes photos down your microscope, and then tells you how big things are! Amazing! At £1.99 it was irresistible, and I was eager to try it out. I placed a small macronyssid mite (courtesy of Diddy, a female pipistrelle that I’ve currently got in care – extra mealworms for Diddy tonight!) under the microscope and opened up the app.
I’ll admit that, at first I was a bit befuddled as I wasn’t sure what to do. No obvious instructions, so I eventually relented and watched the ‘how to’ video. The upshot is: take a photo, tell the app what magnification you used, and voila! Simples! So here’s how I got on with the 20x magnification:
So as you can see, the photo is a circle of white inside a tunnel of black, but this is just a quirk of digiscoping without zooming in (you can’t zoom in, by the way, or the scale calculator won’t work – its not THAT clever, but what do you want for £1.99?) Anyway, I took my pic, selected my 20x magnification (you have to figure this out yourself by multiplying your optical and objective magnifications – 10x and 2x in my case), named my photo – love this little feature – you can photograph and measure loads without having to figure out later which specimen was which. It also adds the date, magnification and of course, the all important scale to the resutling image (above). I was very pleased with it, but nearly fell off the sofa when I realised you can ‘double tap’ to get this….
Again, I was pleased with the result, and figured out that you can drag your little dude over to where the scale bar is to make measuring easier. 1.3mm I think – big for a mite, but he is engorged with his last meal (the one before the tequila). Zooming in with the nifty ‘double-tap’ gets you this image…
So, its not anything the BBC natural history unit would churn out, but this is SUCH a useful tool, especially if you plan to share your images, upload them to ispot or other verification site, or just reference your collections with scaled images – and for less than £2 it is a total bargain. I will be using this lots this summer! I’m waiting for the delivery of some 15x and 20x optics, so I’ll be putting it to the test again very soon!
…now, where did I put that margarita?