The EyeClops BioniCam Video Microscope from Jakks Pacific, Inc is a great way for kids 8 and older to take science learning out in the field. This is the next generation of the award winning BionicEye offered with a few more features. Among the awards earned by this toy are the Parents Choice Recommendation for Fall 2008.
The hand-held microscope attaches to a belt clip battery pack (5 AA batteries required) so that it can go all over the house and outside without dragging along a bunch of equipment. The hand-held “eye” takes digital pictures and video which are viewable on the hand-held LCD and may be saved to the included USB memory stick.
Once the batteries and USB stick are inserted, the camera can be used immediately without the need for a lot of instruction. Controls on the handset let the user zoom (100x, 200x, or 400x magnification), choose to save photo or video, view the gallery on the LCD screen, or delete items. The focus during magnification must be done manually and takes a bit of practice to get just right; this might be frustrating for younger kids, especially initially.
The included video cable allows the close-ups to be viewed on a TV. The BioniCam is operational while plugged in this way, offering fun family play with a larger screen to view the real time close-ups of Uncle George’s wrinkles. The saved images and videos can be transferred for editing and storage to a computer without downloading any extra software.
The instruction booklet offers some tips when starting out, giving recommendations for items with intricate patterns that kids will find interesting. Once they get started they’ll be off and running, inspecting everything around the house with their new toy.