YouTube’s Doctor Volt repurposed a Blu-Ray drive, which are now easy to find on the cheap in the era of streaming content, to build a simple scanning laser microscope. Gizmodo reports: A couple of custom-designed and manufactured plastic parts were added to the mix to create a scanning bed for a sample that could move back in forth in one direction, while the laser itself shifted back and forth in the other. Unlike an optical microscope, where the entirely of an object is imaged at once, a scanning laser microscope takes light intensity measurements in increments, moving across an object in a grid and assembling a magnified image pixel by pixel. In this case, given the limitations of the Blu-Ray drive’s spindle, which moves the sample being viewed back and forth, the image is assembled from 16,129 measurements (a 127×127 grid) and then scaled up to a 512×512 image.


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