Turning The Inverted Microscope Market Upside-Down

Traditional high-powered compound microscopes are great for viewing prepared slides, but they aren’t able to fit larger subjects. The objective lens on a compound microscope is positioned slightly above the stage, and samples have to squeeze into this narrow gap. This limitation was overcome when John Lawrence Smith invented the inverted microscope in 1850. True to its name, the objective lens on an inverted microscope is positioned underneath the stage. With plenty of space above the stage, it was suddenly possible to observe larger subjects such as rock samples and cultures in a petri dish.

Despite the 167 years or so since its inception, the market for inverted microscopes has not shared the same reduction in cost enjoyed by compound microscopes. With even low-end models of inverted microscopes selling for $1,000 or more, their practicality has been confined to laboratory use. After the success of our popular USB2-MICRO-250X microscope, we at Plugable felt it was our Promethean duty to pluck inverted microscope technology from the exclusive mountaintop of professional laboratories and make it accessible to the masses. With this vision in mind, we set out to develop a quality inverted microscope with 800x optical magnification at a price well within the reach of science-hungry kids and hobbyists, without sacrificing functionality.

We are very excited to announce the success of this mission by unveiling the latest addition to our microscope lineup: the USB2-MICRO-800X Inverted Digital/Optical USB Microscope.

We managed to pack a lot of features into this microscope, and despite being suitable for professional use, its straightforward design ensures a complete novice can become a master of the microscopic in a matter of minutes.

Trying to get a microscopic sample positioned in just the right spot can be frustrating, as attempts to reposition objects smaller than a millimeter by hand often results in overcorrection. The adjustment knobs on the USB2-MICRO-800X allow precise changes to the lateral and longitudinal position of the stage, so even the most unsteady-handed individual can bring their subject into view. Following this theme, the large focus knobs on either side of the microscope provide precise control over the position of the focal point, allowing a clear view of the individual layers of a sample.

To take full advantage of the inverted design, there are built-in LEDs above and below the stage. Transmit light through translucent samples using the top LED with single lens condenser, or reflect light off opaque subjects with the bottom LEDs. Press the light switch in to toggle between the top and bottom LEDs, or flip it left or right to quickly adjust the brightness level.

The stage features slide holder clips that can be rotated out of the way to provide more space for other types of samples. With slightly more than 5 cm (about 2 inches) of space between the stage and the top LED, this microscope provides plenty of room for creativity.
Connect the included USB cable to a host system to view subjects on a display with companion software. This makes it easy to take photos, record video, or capture time-lapse images. This microscope uses a USB Video Class (UVC) chipset that makes it compatible with any standard webcam viewer, and is supported with the following Operating Systems:

  • Windows XP+
  • macOS / OS X 10.4+
  • Linux kernels 2.6.26+
  • All Chrome OS devices
  • Select Android devices

For a more traditional approach, extending the 800x optical eyepiece enables a direct view of the subject without the need for software. Installing 3 AA batteries (not included) allows you to unplug the detachable USB cable and leave your computer behind.

A versatile accessory kit is included complete with ready-to-view prepared slides, blank slides, cover slips, a dropper, tweezers, a petri dish, and a case. This provides everything needed to prepare smears, dry mount, wet mount, and culture samples.

With all of the possibilities allowed by this microscope set, it’s sure to magnify your passion for science and show you the world through a new lens. We’d love to hear about how you’ve used your microscope; please feel free to share your discoveries by posting a comment below. If you have any questions, please contact us at support@plugable.com, we’re glad to help!

Also, as a thank you to our customers, we’re offering a limited number of 20% off discount codes for the microscope. Click here to receive your discount code via email before they’re all gone!

2 comments on “Turning The Inverted Microscope Market Upside-Down”

  1. HenryMiller Reply

    Very cool, but Amazon says, “The promotional code you entered is for an offer that has not yet begun.”

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