Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope

Reviewed by Heather Govier
This review first appeared in the MAPE Newsletter Spring 2002

The Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope, which won an award at BETT in 2001, magnifies at 10, 60 or 200 times and displays images directly onto a computer screen. Specimens can be lit from below as with a standard microscope (useful for prepared slides) or from above. This allows it to be used rather like a hand-lens to examine minibeasts, for example. The microscope can be mounted on the stand provided, or the imaging head can be handheld for close up exploration in tricky places. The software that comes with the microscope can be used to capture still images (i.e. to take photographs of the specimens) or to record short sections of video. It is also possible to make time-lapse movies and slide shows and to perform all sorts of special effects on the images, which can then either be printed directly or exported to any desktop publishing package. Containers, tweezers and sample slides are supplied with the device along with a clear and attractive handbook. A Teachers' Resource Pack is also available.

For primary school use the 10 magnification is likely to be most useful, as focusing is tricky at higher magnifications. We used it to look at pond life and take close-up photos (10) of the creatures we found there. These were then incorporated into our write-up work. We also looked at growths of mould on bread and made a time-lapse film of mould growing under ideal (warm, damp) conditions.

The Intel Play QX3 Computer Microscope is available from:
TAG Learning Limited,
25 Pelham Road,
DA11 0HU;
Tel: 01474 537 886;
Fax: 01474 332 667;
Price: 89.95.
It can be purchased on-line at
For further information contact Alyson Morris on 01474 537886
or at


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