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Besides shop uses like examining sharpened edges and getting a closer look at that splinter in your finger (TM 7/03/09 post), I think small handheld microscopes are just plain cool. The Celestron 44306 is a Handheld Digital and Optical Microscope, with adjustable brightness LED illumination, a 20X eyepiece for optical viewing (4X to 8X on the LOW setting; 50X on the HIGH setting) and a USB 2.0mp digital camera for snapshots and video on your computer (20X to 40X on the LOW setting; 200X on the HIGH setting). It’s 2″ × 1.25″ × 3.5″, weighs 2 oz, and includes a USB cable and ArcSoft Photo software. The user has to supply two AAA batteries for the LED.

There are lots of fun things to look at with the microscope, like fountain pen writing on an index card, a cat whisker — it fell off, honest — , coins, wood grain, random garage bugs…

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