Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snow Day Fun!

Well, we are still in the throes of a blizzard and I have no Internet access, no Wi-Fi, no cell service, and most of what I want to work on is in the cloud. (Note to self: keep copies locally when a blizzard is approaching!)

The SmartScope iGo
However, I did have a new gadget to review, and I managed to get to that! The item is the SmartScope iGo Wi-Fi microscope. It is a handheld microscope that works with both the iPad and iPad Mini, Android tablets, and the iPhone and Android phones. You can hook up to three mobile devices at once to each SmartScope iGo.


When you turn the microscope on, it creates an ad-hoc (private) network between itself and the iPad/Android devices. You simply look at your settings in Wi-Fi area on your mobile device and chose the microscope's network. The password to join the private network is a default password that can be changed. (Quick start instructions.)

Ad-hoc Network
You then simply launch the free Wi-Viewer app, which allows what is shown on the microscope to be shown on the mobile device’s screen. (Since you are on a private wireless network, the Reflector app will not work to mirror the iPad's screen, since the desktop and laptop have to be on the same Wi-Fi network. I connected to the ad-hoc network with the desktop, but Reflector would not allow mirroring.) To showcase what is on the iPad or Android device’s screen you will need a VGA connection to a projector or an AppleTV.

Item I viewed with the SmartScope iGo

View of the item using the Scope and the Wi-Viewer App

However, there is a simple way to solve this built right into the Wi-Viewer app! You can choose to record the entire microscopy session! The file is saved as an AVI file, which I was able to get off of the iPad and onto the Mac desktop through the Apps File Sharing section in iTunes. I could then open the AVI file in the VLC app and I also easily converted the AVI file to an MP4 file to be able to play natively on the Mac.

The wireless SmartScope iGo microscope has all its features right at your fingertips when using the device. These include the focus button, the knob to increase or decrease the LED lights as needed, and a button to quickly take a snapshot that saves to the iPad’s or Android’s Photo app. The microscope comes with 3 rechargeable batteries and a charger and is rated to allow you about 3.5 hours of microscope use on a charge.

Video recording using the SmartScope iGo (no sound)

Screen for viewing the recordings

The magnification choices, when using a full-size iPad, is 1x - 80x. I was using the iPad Mini, so my magnification was different. The Wi-Viewer app software has a quick start button to begin and end the recordings, the ability to view the recording on the iPad, and also has an image capture button. I can definitely see one of these devices for every two students in a lab setting, with one controlling the recording and images and the other student actually controlling the SmartScope iGo. And, as the teacher, you can hook up to each SmartScope iGo being used and both view and record what each pair of students is doing since up to three mobile devices can hook to one Scope. The mobile device and the SmartScope iGo can be up to 10 meters apart and still connect.

The cost of the SmartScope iGo is $329, and there is an optional gooseneck stand available for $99 or a cradle for $49 . Contact if you want more information or wish to inquire about volume purchasing.

Now, to get this project together without Wi-Fi, during the blizzard, I used Bluetooth to connect the Mover+ app on the iPhone to the iPad Mini to gather all the images onto one device. I then used the desktop component, Mover Connect, to move all the images to the desktop so I could work on this blog post. (Again using Bluetooth.) Since we still did not have Internet access, I moved the Word file, the images, and the video back to the iPad Mini via the AirDIsk Pro app and then used the Blogger app to post it. Just in case you were wondering!