Three Things to Know About Field and Digital Microscopes

Portable ways to see the microscopic world.

Get ready to see the world in a new way.Pixabay

Everybody knows getting outside is a balm for modern woes. That’s probably why nature therapy like Japan’s shinrin-yoku—literally “forest bathing”—have gained popularity as a way to unplug and unwind. Whether you’re indulging in a 2-hour forest soak or simply stepping outside for a quick breather, check out these field and digital microscopes that make it easy to add a little science break to your day.

LED Lighted Pocket Microscope with Aspheric Lens System
This super portable tool takes your hike to a new level—like a mini-lab in your backpack.Carson

The big benefit of field microscopes is portability. They’re designed for professionals—like veterinarians, researchers and textile or currency inspectors—to slip into a pocket for a quick look at samples on-the-go. They’re also an ideal lightweight tool for transforming hikes or neighborhood walks into a field trip. Pocket microscopes have a small magnification range like 60X or 120X—making structures 60 or 120 times bigger—and a simple LED light to illuminate the specimen. For the best image quality, look for an aspherical lens, which ensures crisp on-the-trail viewing.

USB Digital Microscope 40X to 1000X, Bysameyee 8 LED Magnification Endoscope Camera with Carrying Case & Metal Stand, Compatible for Android Windows 7 8 10 Linux Mac
This plug-and-point instrument makes microscopy accessible for any computer user.Bysameyee

Digital microscopes take the hassle out of microscopy by eliminating sample preparation and slide mounting. Users simply plug the instrument into a laptop and point the scope to bring the microscopic world into view. These tools generally provide the same level of magnification as a standard light microscope with up to 1000X magnification—suitable for visualizing down to 180 microns (0.180 mm). That’s more than enough to see the plant cells in the leaves you pocketed on your hike or even your own blood or skin cells.

Wireless Digital WiFi USB Microscope
This tool connects science tech with any device for easy mobile microscopy.T TAKMLY

Some digital microscopes are wireless for maximum portability and even take photos and shoot video. Look for an instrument with built-in WiFi and 1080-pixel resolution for HD-quality images. That ease of use and simple tech interface is a great hook for inspiring an interest in biology in students—or for enjoying a quick nature break at your desk.