A mysterious field microscope - the Chinese TWX-1 (VI)
The video clip below shows a maritime Batillipes sp. tardigrade, filmed unter close-to-natural
conditions, between sand grains, in the micro-aquarium. As most of our readers will already know
those tardigrades are really tiny and hard to find.
Even in the video-rich web you won't come across many clips of those maritime tardigrades
and chances are high that this will remain so in the future as well.
In order to demonstrate once more the versatily ot the chinese TWX-1 field microscope
this video has been made with the TWX-1 in a rather thick "water slice" which is
typical for the micro aquarium situation.
Maritime Batillipes sp. tardigrade,
filmed by means of the chinese mini microscope TWX-1, in the micro aquarium.
Young individual, body length ~ 0.1 mm.
10x objective and
Sony DSC-100 video camera.
10x "Nikon CP" eyepiece adapter,
strong zoom factor (the complete field of view of the TXW-1 with the 10x objective
is 10 times larger).
For the newcomers among our readers we depict once more
the TWX-1 microscope (below) the properties of which have been discussed in the
previous issues #116 to #120.
Chinese field microscope TWX-1, said to be a product
by the "TaiYuan Optical Instruments Factory", in the chinese Shanxi province.
Probably designed for mobile military field use (for military hospitals). Most of those
instruments appear to have never been used, probably have just beed stored away over decades.
Proven production years at least in the time range between 1971 to 1979
(estimated on the basis of the serial numbers which are of type "yynnnn").
The video clip is a good example in order to demonstrate the
potential, but also the limits of this application. Of course it is a tremendous achievement
that we can perform low-light filming of tardigrades on the go.
But, to be thoroughly honest, there are some drawbacks as well. As the tardigrades are moving rapidly
a weak objective like 3x would be very helpful (but obviously it is not available).
Once the tardigrade has moved out of your field of view chances are high that it will remain out of sight.
The situation ist furthermore complicated by the tiny stage which is movable but not in the same comfortable manner as with a
Of course those problems related to tardigrade chasing are not to be considered as
flaws of the instrument: we should not forget that the planned military application
is very different from the tardigrade job (probably looking out for parasites, bacteria etc.
which are very, very small and don't move so much).
In any case the TXW-1 is still ranging among the most interesting field microscopes.
It is a fascinating historical chinese technical object and in parallel
some kind of thrilling James Bond type micro gadget for those who like the flavour of extreme miniaturization.
And, as far as we know, James Bond did never complain about the tinyness of his gadget weapons, miniature video screens etc.
© Text, images and video clips by
Martin Mach (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Water Bear web base is a licensed and revised version of
the German language monthly magazine
Style and grammar amendments by native speakers are warmly welcomed.