The image is interpolated to 512x384 pixel resolution for display in the Microscope software's Live View window. The microscope used optical (not digital) magnification. After the Intel Play line of toys were discontinued in 2002 a company called Digital Blue bought the product line and sold clones of the Intel QX3, know as the Digital Blue QX5 Microscope, which had some improvements over the earlier Intel QX3 models - upgrades included a 640x480 image capture device and brighter light source. Digital Blue's latest model was called the Digital Blue QX7. Konus makes a nice educational USB microscope.
During periods of inactivity, the tutorial launches a screen saver that bounces the image from the Live View screen around the small computer monitor. The actual QX3 microscope software takes control of the computer video drivers and deactivates any screen savers during operation.
Follow the installation instructions. I chose "Full Install". Then the Registration Wizard comes up. You can fill it out or exit. Then it asks you to restart. If you wish to play with the microscope you MUST reboot.
In the vlc display, you can find the microscope lighting controls by clicking the "show extended settings" button at the bottom of the window, then clicking on the "v4l2 controls" tab. There will be check boxes for illuminator_1 and illuminator_2.
Years ago Mattel released an educational toy microscope called the Intel Play QX3, and later the QX5. This particular microscope has a CMOS imaging chip with a lower lamp for transmitted light to come through a specimen and an upper lamp for light to be reflected off of it, each of which is independently toggled on and off by software. The resolution and speed of the CMOS chip in the QX3 is quite poor by modern standards but it does function adequately for a basic educational model. Some samples of image quality attainable can be found. I happen to own a QX3 and in the past was able to use the old guides for the old driver to turn the illuminator lamps on and off in older releases of various Linux distros. As time moved on driver rewrites began and things got shuffled around. Instead of using the old CPiA driver modern distros use the gspca driver framework which still operates under Video4Linux. V4L has a control command that allows regular users to send commands to the driver via their API, available in the v4l-utils package. The old method involved sending commands directly to the device driver module as a user with root privileges.Plugging the microscope in shows the following:jon@leon:~$ lsusb Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub Bus 005 Device 002: ID 0813:0001 Mattel, Inc. Intel Play QX3 Microscope Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub Bus 003 Device 003: ID 046d:c063 Logitech, Inc. DELL Laser Mouse Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub jon@leon:~$ dmesg[...][101645.604019] usb 5-1: new full-speed USB device number 2 using uhci_hcd[101645.811040] usb 5-1: New USB device found, idVendor=0813, idProduct=0001[101645.811045] usb 5-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=2, Product=1, SerialNumber=0[101645.811048] usb 5-1: Product: Intel Play QX3 Microscope[101645.811050] usb 5-1: Manufacturer: Mattel Inc.[101645.830281] Linux video capture interface: v2.00[101645.833059] gspca_main: v2.14.0 registered[101645.835930] gspca_main: cpia1-2.14.0 probing 0813:0001[101646.140126] input: cpia1 as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.3/usb5/5-1/input/input11[101646.140262] usbcore: registered new interface driver cpia1To talk to the camera driver module use v4l2-ctl to list and change the various settings it has available.jon@leon:~$ v4l2-ctl -lUser Controls brightness (int) : min=0 max=100 step=1 default=50 value=50 flags=slider contrast (int) : min=0 max=96 step=8 default=48 value=48 flags=slider saturation (int) : min=0 max=100 step=1 default=50 value=50 flags=slider power_line_frequency (menu) : min=0 max=2 default=1 value=1 illuminator_1 (bool) : default=0 value=0 illuminator_2 (bool) : default=0 value=1 compression_target (menu) : min=0 max=1 default=0 value=0Flipping the lights on/off involves setting the illuminator_n controls with bool values. illuminator_1 is the lower, transmissive, light source. illuminator_2 is the upper, reflective, light source.It is easy to turn them on/off at will from a command line.v4l2-ctl -c illuminator_1=0v4l2-ctl -c illuminator_2=1v4l2-ctl -c illuminator_2=0v4l2-ctl -c illuminator_2=1To get the microscope working I installed Camorama and it saw the QX3 when run. A bit of twiddling with the sticky and twitchy focus controls brought in a good view of some wear on a coin, illuminated by the upper lamp. Finally, science! 2b1af7f3a8