Friday, June 9, 2017

Let's Get Small

I got a new toy and brother, this thing is a blast. It's an Opti-Tekscope OT-M HDMI Microscope with Camera and it's as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. 

I've always loved looking at pictures of small things and have often wished I could see some different things under a microscope. This microscope does what I got it for (identifying and soldering small parts) and it's a fair compromise between cost and capability.

So let's look at something small!

TCS34725 by Mark Turnauckas on
You can see the full-sized version of this photo here. It's worth a look.

Above is a photomicrograph of a Color Light-to-Digital Converter with IR Filter from AMS. It can be used in things like robotic sock-sorting machines to differentiate different colored socks. I'm working on such a machine now. Since all of my socks are black I'll bet it works.

There are small light sensors under the color filter squares. The light intensity of each sensor is combined and converted to a digital signal that is sent to a computer or microcontroller.

Below is what it looks like mounted on a breakout from Adafruit. The part in the photo above is outlined in green in the photo below.

The sensor on a breakout in my palm.

Each colored square in the photomicrograph is about 0.004" across. I don't know what that is in human hairs but it's pretty darned small. There's also a lot of other things built right onto the chip, which is pretty amazing.

So there ya' have it. Yay for small!

More about the AMS color sensor can be found here.

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