Friday, August 30, 2019

uHandy Mobile Microscope Duet review

Okay, I have not had this much fun since I got my first microscope when I was 10! I have always loved the microscopic world, and even conducted research on blood cells for a pharmaceutical company for my senior project. 

During the project, I had to remove blood from various animals (rat, rabbit, dog), spin the pipettes in a centrifuge, smear the blood on slides, and manually record the number of different types of white blood cells using an electron microscope. It really is true that the hands-on projects are the ones we remember the most! (I found a video of the type of manual counter I had to use on YouTube!)

If students do not have a microscope at home or limited access to one at school, they may never have the chance to explore the microscopic world in depth. This love could lead students on a career path they never thought they might take.

uHandy ask me to review their Mobile Microscope Duet and, after taking a look at it online, I readily agreed to test it out! I could not wait for it to arrive! (And they have even included a promo code for me to give out for a teacher discount!)

When I first opened the box, I was impressed by the number of items included and the well-written and illustrated user guide that had me up and running quickly! The first step was to install the uHandy app for iOS or Android. The app allows students to capture items as images or videos, adjust focusing, and switch between the Low-Mag and High-Mag lenses.

Low-Mag lens attached and three samples to try

My first experiment was to clip the Low-Mag (10x-300x) lens onto the back camera of my iPad Mini and attach a sample sticker of a down feather to the sample cap of the Lo-Mag lens.

The Sample Cap with the sample.

The result was impressive as you can see below!
View of a down feather with the Lo-Mag Lens.

I then took the plastic cover off of the sample cap so I could view a sample that was irregular. I picked a coin to view.
View of a quarter though the Lo-Mag lens

Next came experimentation with the included Light Stage. Students can easily view a sample with the naked eye via its backlight.
Sample on Light Stage

High-Mag Lens
The High-Mag Lens (30x-1000x) can attach to the back of the mobile device, and the Light Stage can even be magnetically attached to it. And, when students move the High-Mag lens to the front camera, they can use the Circular Glass Slide and put liquid on the glass to view through the mobile device. And, if students create their own specimens using the Sample Stickers, they can easily store them in the included collecting album or any notebook. 

High-Mag Lens with Circular Glass Slide

The Light Stage, with the attachment of the stainless steel slide holder, can accommodate a regular glass specimen slide, too, and can be attached to the High-Mag Lens for viewing.

Another cool feature is that students can have both the Low-Mag and High-Mag lenses attached to the mobile device and switch back and forth between them, as illustrated in the video below.

The uHandy Mobile Microsoft Duet includes 180 sampling stickers for students to use for their own samples, 60 sample cards (which are called the Sample Hub) to create collections from their samples, and a collection album in which students can store their own samples and add notes.
Collection items included 

In addition to students using the Mobile Microscope Duet to complete classroom lessons, there are over 50 topics to explore found in the uHandy app. They include instructional videos at different levels of difficulty and projects for students to complete.
Some lessons included in the uHandy app

Instructional video for one of the projects

After putting the uHandy Mobile Microscope Duet through its paces and trying all the included options, I would recommend this for grades 6-12 science classrooms. It would make a great addition to a traditional science lab table as students could use their own mobile devices, capture the samples as images or videos, and use their findings in reports and for research purposes. Also, all the students can view a sample at the same time via a single, larger tablet, and discuss the topic of the lab as a group. The kits can also be used as content remediation or extension by having students work on the project topics included in the app.

I could envision a few kits put in the school library to be checked out so students could experiment at home. The only consumables that would have to be replaced are the Sample Stickers, the Sample Hub cards, and the batteries for the Light Stage. The kit could be used with younger students, but they would need adult supervision.

You can order the Mobile Microscope Duet package from the uHandy Duet Amazon page and you can save 15%, through September 12, 2019,  by using the promo code kathyBTS19

Follow uHandy on Instagram at @loveuhandy!