It's often just a quick idea that ends up being great...

A project log for Quick and Dirty High Performance EE Microscope

I bought an iPad and constantly look for more real life use cases. Turns out it's an excellent electronics microscope!

Timo BirnscheinTimo Birnschein 08/03/2021 at 04:060 Comments

Most of us would probably argue, the iPad Pro is a super expensive YouTube viewer and not much more. Obviously, that stops being true when you actually use it with the various really powerful software suites that exist for it (music making is one of those). However, some great tools are built in but seem underrated. For example, I have never seen anyone talk about the Magnifier app that comes with newer iOS devices.

Apparently, Apple has realized that their cameras are now so good that they can see more than the human eye at close distance. Exceptions to the rule apply. So they decided to add a magnification app to their latest devices which allows high magnification levels than the normal camera app. Obviously, the quality at that magnification isn't great but it's better than what a human can see comfortably by quite a long shot.

So here I was, holding my eye iPad in my hands thinking hard what I can do with it that would benefit me in real life. Yeah, it has the most powerful processor ever to be put in a tablet but I'm still only using it for watching YouTube and reading Hackaday. 

But then, the Magnifier app caught my eye. I click on it, play with it and start thinking. I realized that by holding the iPad upside down and diagonally, I had a camera at the bottom and a large screen at the top. Kind of what you want when using a microscope. Makes it somewhat pleasant on the neck! I also realized that the diagonal form factor would allow the operator to reach in under the microscope with, say, a soldering iron and a pair of pliers! Wait. This is a perfect electronics microscope!!

Last Sunday, I decided to give it a shot and started designing. An iPad Pro 12.9 model was quickly found and designing that stand only took about an hour. It was supposed to be a quick test, so I didn't want to spend lots of time on it. 

The print on my new Hemera extruder using PLA took only about 9h so that wasn't even a big deal!