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Monday, May 20, 2002
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Microscopic image on monitor
Tribune News Service

OLYMPUS Optical Co., Ltd. has launched MIC-D, an innovative new digital inverted optical zoom microscope. Rather than observing objects through an optical lens as with conventional microscopes, the MIC-D facilitates observation by enabling users to see images on the monitor of a personal computer connected with a USB cable.

The MIC-D is a learning tool that can be used in conjunction with personal computers, and is thereby perfectly adapted to the IT-oriented educational approaches that are becoming more prevalent. Its numerous commercial and research uses range from natural science observations to applications in the food, textiles, printing and electronics components industries.

The MIC-D is a digital microscope with durable construction, a compact, portable body, and dedicated software that make the microscopic world more accessible and enjoyable than ever. With an optical zoom ratio of 13, as well as built-in basic features crucial to microscopy, such as automatic light control capabilities, the MIC-D is easy even for students to make full use of.


Development background

The need in this market for digitisation of the observational image is high. And in the educational market, IT education has been undertaken in earnest with the institution in April 2002 of "integrated learning periods" in elementary and junior high schools. That has stimulated an interest in a wide range of educational tools that can function as peripherals for personal computers.

Main features

  • An IT learning tool perfectly adapted to "integrated study periods." The combination of experiences such as direct observation of the microscopic world and IT learning tasks like using a PC to observe and edit digitally encoded images is ideally suited to the integrated study periods that are an important part of the new developmental approach to education. And the MIC-D's functional simplicity, durable body and ease of operation make it perfectly adapted to use by students.

  • The MIC-D digital microscope is equipped with a 1/3-inch CMOS colour digital camera that converts the observational image into digital data and sends it to the personal computer. This makes it a unique kind of microscope that does not use the ocular lenses found on conventional microscopes.

  • Fully equipped with basic microscope features. The MIC-D, like the high-end SZX12 stereomicroscope, is equipped with a full-fledged optical system featuring a zoom ratio of 13, permitting continuous adjustment between magnifications of 0.7 times and 9 times.

  • The stage can be moved freely with the user's fingers.

  • Able to illuminate objects from many angles, providing users with more varied observational capabilities. A wide range of observing methods can be used to adapt to the properties of the specimen. Transparent specimens such as prepared slides placed on the stage can be observed by training the light source on them from directly above. Greater contrast can also be created by observing the specimen with the light source directed from a point diagonally above it.

  • Dedicated software providing complete control over observation, data storage, editing and printing. The software is compatible with Windows 98, 2000, Me and XP operating systems, and data can be displayed in both still image and moving image with a 310,000-pixel video graphics array (VGA). The MIC-D software features an easy-to-use interface that enables users to place images in a computer for observation, storage, editing and printing. Since the images are digitally encoded, storing, deleting, adjusting their size and other editing tasks are simple. And by allowing users to add the images to home pages, send them as e-mail attachments or add them to reports, the user is free to make the most of the data.