Technology in science – the Motic WiFi microscope (first impressions)

motic2I’ve been meaning to buy a new microscope for ages.  My students struggle with microscopes (as do I as a spectacle wearer) so I’ve been keeping my eye out for something that makes life easier.  Credit to Catherine Mellor from Timstar who dropped me a catalogue off at work and then gave me a demonstration of the Motic BA-50 WiFi microscope at the ASE annual conference.  This product seemed to do exactly what I wanted (for the budget I had available) and I finally got around to ordering one this week.

I chose this microscope because it functions as an ordinary optical microscope and a digital WiFi Microscope.  This allows you to view the image on an iPad, mobile phone or even a laptop connected to a projector.  It works by acting as a WiFi hotspot (so there might be issues if you need to be connected to a corporate network whilst you are using it or if you are wanting to mirror your iPad screen over WiFi).  It comes supplied with software for PC and free apps are available for iOS and Android on their respective app stores (although paid versions add additional functionality)

I haven’t had chance to put the microscope through its paces yet but I tested the functionality using an iPad and the calibration slide in the box (I took it home for the weekend and forgot to fetch home some slides to use with it!).  The gallery shows the microscope and the image I snapped using the lowest resolution objective.    The build quality of the microscope is excellent – I don’t foresee any problems with it being use by the clumsiest of students.

IMG_0117 With compulsory GCSE practicals including microscopy work, a digital microscope gives a way to provide or enhance their experience.  I haven’t tested the microscope fully yet (using the highest magnifications) but I see this being a useful tool for teaching my (SEN) students how to use a microscope and I’m already looking forward to using it in my teaching.

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Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.

3 replies on “Technology in science – the Motic WiFi microscope (first impressions)”

  1. I have budgeted for an eyepiece camera for one of my microscopes this year, mainly to make viewing more accessible for our students who use wheelchairs. It’s a cheaper option, but this piece of kit looks interesting .

  2. Hi Rob
    Thanks for this – looks interesting.
    School networks should be no problem for people wanting to get images onto tablets – just choose the Motic wireless network. Only problem I see is if you want the image to appear on a school pc linked to the projector, need to swap networks. And then saving the image on the school network may need an extra step or two.
    Works in a similar way to a data logger that creates its own network (Labquest2 and VisionII)
    I do have a concern about GCSE requirements expecting children to learn to draw through a microscope – in my view a challenging but essential skill. Is drawing from a tablet or projector skill an adequate substitute or is it best seen as a ‘gentle introduction’?

    1. I would see it as a reasonable adjustment for those that are unable to use a microscope because of their special needs whether that be eyesight, poor motor skills or something else. The only difference is how you look at the image – I would see using the microscope as meeting the requirements. (And if it doesn’t I’ve no chance of meeting the physics ones!)

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