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Mattel & Intel Offer World's First PC Microscope

by Nick Anis

As digital cameras and personal computers continue to grow in popularity two unlikely partners, Mattel and Intel are producing a microscope for Windows-based PCs selling for under $100.  The new QX3 Computer Microscope is the first product launched under the Intel Play brand.  It signals a new line of PC-enhanced toys.   The QX3 let's kids and adults magnify, display, and play with objects on the PC screens at 60x, 60x, and 200x resolution.

The QX3 uses the same technology common in modern digital cameras.  It's recommended for kids ages six and older.  It can capture and magnify still, moving, and time-lapsed color images of objects such as a live ladybug, moldy cheese, a blade of grass, or even a scab on the elbow.  Like a traditional microscope the QX3 let's you view material on slides.  The QX3's special imaging unit can also be removed from its base so you can explore the world around you, such as fleas on the family pet, or freckles on someone's face, and so on.  Also the images the still images and videos can be manipulated and inserted into word processing documents, Web pages, etc.

The included CD-ROM has software for capturing video and still images, manipulating them with paint tools and special effects, and creating time-lapse movies.  The images can be incorporated into reports, posters, and stickers and printed, or posted on a Web page or sent out as an email attachment.  The software allows you to make slides quite easily that can include captured still images, video clips, and time lapse movies, and adding movies, sound effects, text, and other graphics.

The QX3 Computer Microscope comes with the microscope and CD-ROM software, along with accessories such as prepared slides, containment dishes, sample jars, plastic tweezers, an eyedropper, and an activity guide.

The microscope requires a Windows 95/98 Pentium 200MHz class and 32MB of RAM or better, 75MB of free hard disk space, 4x speed CD-ROM drive, 800 x 600 resolution 16-bit color display, 16-bit Windows-compatible sound device, video and sound capabilities with DirectX (free download), and standard mouse and keyboard.  Information and samples can be found at

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Nick Anis is a food, wine, and travel and technology writer with over 24 books in print published by McGraw-Hill, Random House, Bantam, Ziff-Davis, Tab, and others. Nick's articles have appeared in The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, West Coast Media, The Family Publications Group, The Weekly News, and Travel-Watch.  His beats include food, travel, snow and waters sports, entertainment, family recreation, consumer electronics, home improvement, and automotive.  He is responsible for the Restaurant Row Ethnic Dining Guide, co-published by the Long Beach Press Telegram.  Nick is an accomplished downhill skier, PADI certified SCUBA diver, and when he's not sitting on his butt goofing off, enjoys a variety of active recreation including tennis, riding motorcycles, ATVs, wave runners, snow machines, horses, skeet and trap shooting he's also taken a stab at riding camels, donkeys, elephants, ostriches, lamas, dolphins, Reindeer, bulls, mechanical bulls, and buffalo.  Nick is a member (A Secretary/Treasurer) of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), a member of the North American Snow Sports Journalist Association (NASJA), Computer Press Association, The Writer's Guild, and listed in Books in Print, Media Map, and Press Access.  You can reach Nick at


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