* Prices may differ from that shown
There isn't a shortage of things you can buy for your computer, to connect to your USB hubs. A lot of them are more or less totally useless if a bit fun for a minute or two.
The Veho-VMS 001 USB Microscope, however, is not. Now, I've never actually used one for professional reasons and in fact haven't even had one for very long, but for the amount of time I have had it, I've found it to be incredibly interesting and a lot of fun.
It is, as the name suggests, a microscope that you plug into your computer. Like a lot of USB devices these days this works nice and easily as Plug and Play, simply wait for your drivers to install and you're off. The device, which can be used on almost anything, is very useful in all kinds of situations, even reading small and difficult text.
The microscope camera zooms in twenty times but can do as much as two hundred times, all while keeping crisp and quality image (focusing is pretty easy), which you see in your computer screen.
It's fairly small, with the microscope part only 15-odd centimeters, can be tidied away easily. The top part is easily movable and can be positioned any way you want, allowing 360 degrees turning for accuracy. There are also a lot of features in the software that comes with it to adjust saturation, hue and contrast, for a better look.
Now I did have a driver issue for a while with it, but I'm not sure if it was my fault or not. Whatever the reason, I emailed them and got it fixed, and it started working again fine.
All in all, a very useful, pretty cool device or fun, or any professional purpose, and seems to come in at around 40 pounds.
When my eldest daughter came home from school with a small box, inside which was what looked like a large lipstick on a stand, it wasn't long before she was asking me to connect this 'lipstick' to her laptop
So, being a good father, I agreed, (as long as she cleaned her room first), and took the 'lipstick' out of the box, soon discovering that it was actually a rather nice and pretty compact microscope.
Then, after a quick glance through the destruction manual, sorry, instruction manual, (or was I right first time), I plugged the microscope into her PC, using the adequately long USB cable, and away I went. Well, almost away, to be honest it did take a few goes as, for some strange reason, the PC struggled to find the drivers first time around, but, after a few slap and tickles, I soon had this trendy looking microscope up and running, much to my daughters delight, (this delight soon change when I said she could only use it when she'd finished tidying her room, with her argument being that she needed to use the microscope for a homework project, but I had to stick to my guns as her room was like a large explosion had happened in it.... But a messy bedroom is a different story and I feel I am going way off the track here).
Anyhow, whilst she was busy hiding in her room, making the odd noise so I'd think she was tidying it, I decided to give this little toy a bit of a test run, just to get the hang of it in case questions were asked, so off I went...
Firstly, as I like to get the technical bits out of the way with here they are...
* USB powered
* Built in LED light
* colour image
* CMOS image sensor
* 200 X optical zoom with a 10mm minimum focus range
* 1.3MP resolution lens
* Hi-speed USB PC interface
* Snap shot and video recording functions (AVI 1280x960)
* Webcam capabilities with 30fps
* 112 X 33 mm in size
* Detachable from stand
** Minimum PC requirements are:
* MS windows 98/2000/xp and vista, MAC OS X 10.5
** My opinion...
It looks like a very chunky lipstick holder, being just over 10cm in length and 3cm in diameter, this is of course when it is detached from the stand, which in turn fits nicely onto any table top.
For my 'test drive' I slid it off the cradle and had a bit of fun out in the garden, checking out the local wildlife that lives in my undergrowth, and what I very interesting time I had as the smallest of creatures began to look like monsters from a dodgy horror movie, such as gigantic ants, gargantuan worms and frighteningly enormous blades of grass, (although this was all under the microscope of course).
I know it sounds a little childish but the things I saw were very fascinating indeed and when I played the recorded footage to my kids they were well impressed too, (although my eldest did throw a bit of a wobbler).
Apparently, according to the little leaflet that came with it in the box, it has a base zoom level of X20 plus a further manual zoom of 200X.. Which sounds impressive indeed and I guess it means that you can look at things by making them 200 times bigger than they are.
But what I do know is that you can zoom into something like a piece of material and see every little tiny cord entwining its way over each other.
Whilst you are actually taking footage of you desired object via your PC you can make adjustment for brightness, hue, sharpness and saturation, plus it has a Black and white display mode, getting you that perfect video of the miniature world.
The focus is easily adjusted via a small dial which is nicely placed on the top end of the unit, allowing easy access for the average size thumb.
The image quality is very good indeed, considering it is only a 1.3MP lens, but you can certainly make out some of the finer details giving you some fascinating images of the smaller things in the world, although in low light the image can become a little 'grainy'.
The supplied USB connection cable is a good metre and a half long, which is adequate for most investigations, but extension cables can be bought from most PC accessory shops to allow you to take the microscope out further
Then there's the stand, which has a couple of ball joints making it quite movable yet it is sturdy enough to hold the microscope firmly.
In all, a cracking little 'toy' which has many uses, some useful, such as for children's education purpose or examining printing projects, and also some fun things like checking to see if your friend has nits or even close up of bogies up someone's nose, (these last two are suggestions from my kids I'm afraid).
Plus, it can also be used as a webcam for online chat, which, as it is a good size, won't stick out like a sore thumb as it sits next to your PC.
Finally, after a quick check online, I found this same item up for sale around the £30.00 region, which, for what you get, is quite a good price. Remember, it can be used as a Webcam and has a nice little 1.3MP camera.
So, if you want your kids to see the small hidden world beneath their feet then this little device will certainly help entertain and educate them.
In fact, when my eldest has to give this back I may go out and buy one just for the sake of it as it has certainly opened my mind to the things that the naked eye struggles with.
Go for it, you'll be quite impressed with what you see through this compact microscope.