Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)



Friday, December 08, 2006

USB Microscope for the Visually Impaired

I attended college at the University of Louisville and one of my most interesting times was when I had to take a lab to complete a science credit. Me, being the science fiction fan that I am, chose astronomy as my science class because I thought I knew a little about the subject and maybe it would get me away from the science labs all together.

When that didn't happen, I realized that I was going to be in some trouble when our book said that we had to use microscopes and write papers on what we saw. Well, I had some usable vision at that time, but not enough to see through a microscope.

Luckily, they partnered me with another student who had sight, so he looked and I wrote. Things could have been a little easier if the USB Microscope had been around. I could see computer screens back then and could have helped him do some of the looking.

This computer microscope allows you to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary for hours of fun and learning. View specimens collected around the house, backyard, your desk, or the fridge. Look at the micro-printing on a dollar bill or examine the traces on your motherboard. This microscope provides you an easy way to zoom in on a wide variety of objects to satisfy your curiosity of the world around you. Ever wondered what lint looks like or the mold growing on your week-old bagels? Now you can find out.

Simple plug and play operation with included software that allows you to magnify objects and view them on your PC up to 200X and take snapshots and time-lapse movies. You can also manipulate images with drawing and painting tools.

Now, here's the cool thing for visually impaired folks. The QX5 microscope is detachable from the stand to allow you to get closer to large objects. What things could you look at with this? I know there's a few of you right now that are thinking of ways to use this that were never thought of by the manufacturer.

The USB Microscope QX5 has these great features:

  • Take snapshots, video, and time-lapse movies
  • 3 magnification levels - 10X, 60X, and 200X
  • Super-brite LED lighting for bright top and bottom illumination
  • Video playback at 15 frames/sec
  • Resolution of 640x480
  • Software works with Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP
  • Handheld mode allows for expanded viewing possibilities
  • Comes with: Microscope, USB cable, Stand, Specimen Jars, Sample Slide, Tweezers, Eye Dropper, Slide Clip, and Software CD-ROM

Teachers of the visually impaired take note. This thing could be perfect for your lab or computer workshop. Have you ever had students who simply couldn't see through a regular microscope? Use this in combination with Zoomtext or another screen magnification program to further increase the size of what the student can see. Imagine showing them a circuit board up close, much closer than you can get with a normal CCTV.

Teachers of sighted children could also use this in combination with a projector to show something to the entire class. The possibilities are endless with a little imagination.

Click this link to purchase the USB Microscope from Think Geek.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.