Hacking a dashborad camera into a microscope


Urs workshop on hacking a dashboard cam into a microscope

This workshop provided a hands on experience on how to dismantle a car camera to build your own microscope.

A dashboard camera was used in this workshop. The first thing is to turn the camera on making sure it works, changing the settings such as increasing resolution and turning on motion capture; features that might be of use on our final microscope.

Then, we proceed to open the camera, taking the screws out carefully, saving them, and being cautious on not to touch the camera chip. It is very helpful to recognize the parts of the camera in front of us.

After the camera is completely open, we turn it on again to verify we did not destroy it in the opening process.

The lens is the part we will now work on, the important thing is to put the camera lens at a distance from the chip, in this way we will magnify it. There are many ways to achieve it, in the workshop we used putty, you can also glue it carefully, be creative!

Now we need a structure for the camera. For this we use a slide with a sample to measure the exact distance the objective needs to be from the sample, once we have the measurement, we can proceed to design and build the outer structure, there is design worked out by Bengt for laser cutting that will be soon available for all to download, or you can use the own camera structure to build a scaffold, we also used cardboard to make the structure.

This is how to build a microscope from a dashboard cam, since they are cheap, it is a nice hacking exercise.

Facilitator and convener: Urs

Documentation: Dulce