How To Create A Digital Microscope For Under $10

I’ve always been a little frustrated with macro photography. Rather than spend a lot of money on macro lenses, I’ve often tested the minimum focus range of cameras to see how close I could get to a subject. A few weeks ago, I heard about a simple way to create a digital microscope from a cheap webcam, so I gave it a shot and the results were surprising. Here’s the camera I started with.

webcam

This is not a great webcam. I bought it for around $10 and have since determined that I don’t much like or need it, so it was sitting in a box with my other orphaned gadgets. You can get one on ebay for $7 now. With this camera, I had to unscrew the lens from the housing and then actually clip off the focus ring edge with wire snips. It screws on, but then I think they glued it. Yeah. $7. Anyway, it’s a decent camera for the job and is otherwise easy to take apart.

How To Create A Digital Microscope

This is really much easier than it sounds. While the instructions below are specific to this webcam, you can apply the theory to many other webcams: Open it up, flip the lens around to be backwards, close it up.

1. Take apart the webcam. (5 screws)
2. Remove the camera board from the housing. (2 screws)
3. Remove the lens housing from the board. (Be careful not to touch the tiny CMOS sensor) (2 screws)
4. Unscrew the lens from the mount.
5. Using wire snips, very carefully remove the black focus ring edge if it won’t unscrew on its own.
6. Screw the lens back into the mount backwards.
7. Re-assemble everything.

Sample Photos And Uses

Personally, I wanted to do this mostly to film small insects like ants and tiny spiders. Using a webcam adds the benefit of having both photo and video capabilities. If you have kids, this is a great way to provide them with a digital microscope and get them more excited about science. Below are some examples I came up with in the hour since I’ve completed the conversion.

A human hair
hair

The head of a pin
pinhead

Pixels on my monitor
pixels

The head of a small screw
screw

Enjoy and post your success stories and links to photos below.

How To Replace A HTC EVO 3D Digitizer

When electronics break or malfunction there are two things you can do if you don’t want to pay for repairs. You can sell it cheap or you can fix it yourself. I like to fix it myself if I think I can, so when I saw an HTC EVO 3D at a garage sale for $10, I had to ask what was wrong with it. The seller told me “the screen acts like you’re touching it sometimes and gets all crazy”, so I bought it with the hope that I could fix it. Sure enough, another $14 and an hour of my time was all it took. Below are the instructions on how to do this yourself. Read them all the way through before starting, click any photo to super size it, and comment below with any questions. Now let’s get started.

1. Buy a new digitizer. Check ebay and you should be able to find one for under $15. The one I bought from etechnotics came with a T5 screwdriver a Phillips screwdriver, and two spudger pry tools.
2. Remove back cover. This is pretty simple to do and likely you’ve done it before.
3. With the cover off, remove battery and MicroSD card.
4. Remove the six screws shown. There are two Phillips screws half way up the phone on the edges, and there are four T5 screws on the corners.
5. Remove the small plastic piece at the top of the phone with a spudger.
6. Remove the back inner housing with a spudger carefully. Be sure not to break anything.
7. With tweezers, remove the three pieces of yellow tape from the connectors.
8. Now disconnect the four flex cables shown. Be careful not to damage them!
9. Remove two silver Phillips screws pointed to in the photo. This will loosen up the board.
10. Flip the piece shown up as you can see in the photo and carefully pull back the board from the top end, being careful about the remaining flex cables that are still connected.
11. Pull back the silver cover tape just enough to reveal these two flex cables and then disconnect them.
12. While you’re at it, unplug the antenna cable.
13. Now for the hard part. Pry the glass away from the screen as shown with a spudger. You can try to loosen the glue with a heat gun or hair dryer, but be very careful about the amount of heat you use as it can damage the components.
14. Pry the screen out of the case in the same way, being mindful of the flex cables. Be very careful here. I nearly damaged the screen being impatient. When complete, you should have three pieces as shown.
15. Clean up any leftover glue between the screen and the digitizer and replace with thin strips of double-sided tape.
16. Peel the backing off of your new digitizer and carefully line it up with the screen, pressing it firmly in place when lined up.
17. Finally, just reverse the steps to put it back together (don’t forget to reconnect ALL the cables).

iPhone And iPod Touch IOS 5.0.1 Untethered Jailbreak With Siri

A while back, I ditched Cydia and my jailbreak on my iPhone 4 (Verizon) for the bells and whistles promised by IOS 5. At the time, I thought about all the advantages of my jailbroken IOS and decided that the new features of IOS 5 outweighed the features I was actively using from being jailbroken. Then came Siri and this month, I learned that Siri was soon to be ported to jailbroken iPhones running IOS 5.0.1 and couldn’t wait to jailbreak again. This morning, the untethered IOS 5.0.1 jailbreak AND the Siri port (named Spire) are both available.

Siri jailbroken

How To Jailbreak IOS 5.0.1 Untethered

First, make sure you have one of these supported devices:
– iPhone 4 (GSM – CDMA)
– iPhone 3GS
– iPod touch 4G
– iPod touch 3G
– iPad 1

You’ll also need to make sure you’re on IOS 5.0.1 If not, update your device now, because Apple is sure to release a new version soon to close up some open doors.

Got everything you need? Good, you’re ready to begin. Just follow these steps:
1. BACK UP – You don’t know how many times this has saved me. Do It!
2. Download Redsn0w 0.9.10b1 (Windows – Mac OS X).
3. Unzip the Redsn0w archive you downloaded and run Redsn0w 0.9.10.b1.
4. Click the button to Jailbreak and follow the on-screen instructions.

After a couple minutes and a reboot, you should be jailbroken. Props go out to pod2g for making it possible.

How To Install Siri On iPhone 4

Ryan Petrich and chpwn have released a port of Siri, called Spire, to Cydia. This is about 100MB, so you really should install via Wifi. To find it, just search for Spire in the BigBoss repository.

This is the best port of Siri to date, but it still requires authorization from Apple to run. This means that you have to find and use a proxy in order to use Siri (for now). For more information on how to get a proxy, see this post from cydiahelp.com.

Unbrick Your iPhone

Just like anyone, I can make mistakes. Sure enough, while trying to re-jailbreak my iPhone, I wound up turning it into a paper weight when I did something wrong and it wouldn’t boot up. If this happened to you, don’t worry because there’s hope. Sadly, it will take some time to restore and you may lose some settings, though. If your phone is stuck with error messages or won’t boot, you can start by doing a factory restore. This will reset the phone to the stock or latest IOS install. After this, you need to restore from your latest backup. You did make a backup, right? Once the backup is in place, you’re ready to jailbreak again. Good luck!