December 13, 2009
We hacked $10 webcams into microscopes, a la Hackteria.org at the bosslab + sprout. Yashas Shetty, Jason Bobe, Rich Pell, Myself, and others are planning a worldwide webcam hacking day on January 30th, in conjunction with the UCLA “Outlaw Bio” symposium.
hello world, ucam style
@jasonbobe was the first to have a cam connected to his laptop and the lens unscrewed and inverted.
A droplet of saliva dripped onto a microscope slide held above the webcam/microscope (microcam? u-cam? ucam?) showed up as amorphous blobs: Hello World! The inverted lens resting on top of the camera chasis seemed to have a focal plane somewhere inside the lens body. This is when we realized we should screw the lens into the chasis in reverse.
@jayunit & David Thompson built an ad-hoc microscope slide holder out of a block of insulator foam, a pencil, two black binder clips, a bolt, a nut, and a washer. By rotating the nut (or holding the nut and rotating the bolt), we could raise and lower the height of the microscope slide.
I hacked together some rudimentary processing code to access the usb microscope. It seemed to be more reliable than quicktime (or skype) and I was excited about using my favorite blob-detection library on the microscope feed.
You can grab the source here: ucam.
To get the focal plane outside of the lens assembly, we unscrewed the 2 small machine screws holding the camera body together to open the camera then and screwed the camera lens back into the housing from the inside-out such that the the lens was reversed. The part of the lens that had originally been closest to the CCD was now outside the camera body. Then screwed the housing back together.
By rotating the lens and and the nut on the slide holder, we were able to intersect the focal plane of the ucam with the microscope slide. it works!
12 Dec 2009 – wiki notes.