"Intel Play" Mattel's toy digital microscope in the Science lab

J.Paul Robinson and Steven Dunlop

Computer chip maker Intel and toy maker Mattel have joined forces to produce "Intel-Play" a color digital microscope with 10x, 60x, and 200x magnification, time lapse and real time video on a microscope for US$100. The microscope connects to a PC via a USB port and operates with an upper and lower light source (powered by the USB port) and well engineered computer control software. We have evaluated this digital microscope and this paper will demonstrate its use with a variety of specimens. We propose to link this microscope with our "RemoteScope" project designed to bring high quality digital microscopy to high school biology students. This presentation will show how todayŐs technologies can be used to enhance the experience school students have in the biological sciences. The Mattel microscope produces very good images, is easy to use and ideal for kids. However, what is missing is the real biology links and enhancements of the student-scientist partnership necessary to promote real learning. To fill this gap, we are developing biology material that will be complementary to kids using this microscope by utilizing material from our BioScope Initiative (www.bioscope.org). Our goal is to demonstrate to kids that science inquiry leads to knowledge acquisition. The powerful combination of digital microscopy, the internet and our CD-ROM material developed under the BioScope Initiative will become a strong influence kids interest in science.

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