Japanese Firm Proposes Cosmetic Use of iPad

Jun 9, 2010
Hiroki Yomogita, Nikkei Electronics
The iPad and the microscope that can wirelessly transmit video
The iPad and the microscope that can wirelessly transmit video
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The package of the "AirMicro model A1" was designed based on Apple Inc's products.
The package of the "AirMicro model A1" was designed based on Apple Inc's products.
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The microscope is equipped with GainSpan's wireless transceiver chip.
The microscope is equipped with GainSpan's wireless transceiver chip.
[Click to enlarge image]
The CMOS image sensor is mounted on this side.
The CMOS image sensor is mounted on this side.
[Click to enlarge image]

Scalar Corp developed the "AirMicro model A1," a microscope that can be connected to the iPhone or the iPad via a wireless LAN.

The company equipped its portable microscope supporting video with a transceiver function for wireless LAN. As a result, the microscope can display images on the iPad, etc.

Equipped with a 50x lens, the AirMicro model A1 can zoom in and out the images of the user's skin texture and blemishes on the iPad. Scalar has already developed an application software for using the microscope with the iPhone and the iPad, and it is now downloadable.

The AirMicro model A1 will hit the North American market in mid-June 2010 and the Japanese market at the end of June 2010. The company plans to sell 50,000 units in the first year and 550,000 units after three years in the global market.

The microscope can be used with replaceable lens units with magnification ratios ranging from 50x to 200x. It is equipped with a 5-Mpixel CMOS image sensor and can shoot QVGA video at a frame rate of 15fps and wirelessly transmit it. It is powered by three AA batteries.

The AirMicro model A1 comes with a transceiver chip for IEEE802.11b wireless LAN. Scalar used GainSpan Corp's low-power-consumption wireless LAN chip so that the battery life of the microscope is not affected much.

The control software for the wireless LAN transceiver chip was developed by Procubed Inc. It has a function of an embedded DHCP server and a broadcast function and can deliver video to multiple units of the iPhone and the iPad at the same time.

Scalar expects that the microscope will be used in the beauty industry and the education market. The company is already selling a microscope that can be connected to a PC via a USB cable, and it has been utilized for selling cosmetic products and educational purposes. And Scalar is planning to expand the use of the microscope with its wireless LAN capability and function to display images on the iPad and the iPhone in real time.

"In the United States, the iPod touch and the iPad are distributed to students for educational purposes," the company said. "We added the broadcast function to deliver the same video to multiple people in such an occasion."

Also, Scalar intends to provide the application programming interface (API) of the viewer and make an OEM agreement for the wireless LAN communication unit, etc. And, in the future, the company plans to make it possible to use the microscope on other platforms such as Android. The price of the AirMicro model A1 will be about US$390 in the US market.