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ScopeAround camera turns smartphones into tool for science, health, repairs

Ever wish you could see what’s behind those boxes in a cramped closet, without needing to pull everything out of it? A new three-in-one wireless video camera now in development, called the ScopeAround, uses “medical-grade technology” to help you see in tight areas that are difficult to get to, among other uses. The device is currently seeking funding for production, via Kickstarter.

The ScopeAround consists of a slim, lightweight handheld unit with three interchangeable lens heads. The body has built-in Wi-Fi for pairing with a phone, tablet, or computer, allowing you to see a live-view image. It’s rechargeable via USB.  The lenses use LED and anti-glare glass “to deliver stunningly detailed videos and images,” the company says, while high-speed transmission provides real-time imagery.

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One head, called the Flexible, is an endoscope similar to those used in medical facilities, except it’s not meant to be fed down anybody’s throat. Instead, with the 5.5mm Full HD camera at the end (the company claims it’s the first to use a camera so small), the user can snake the endoscope into such places as underneath a car or bed, inside a car’s engine or a desktop computer, beneath the kitchen sink or down the drain, and other constricting spaces. It’s certainly useful for anyone who needs to make repairs to these or other similar items.

Another head, the Fit, has a macro lens with a 1cm shooting distance. Described as a health-check camera, it looks like an electric toothbrush when attached to the main unit, but this lens lets you check places like inside your mouth or teeth, the surface of your skin, the top or back of your head, or anything you want a close-up of. The unit is waterproof, so it’s safe to use in the bathroom.

The third lens, the Focus, turns the unit into a microscope with a 150:1 zoom. The Focus consists of a tray unit for putting a sample onto (a light illuminates the object from below), while an adjustable 8mm Full HD pen-like lens dangles overhead. This lens is ideal for examining tiny objects, and it’s also a fun educational tool for the kids; imagine them in awe as they examine the structure of a leaf. The lens can be removed from the tray unit, making it a portable microscope.

“ScopeAround truly gives you a new way to learn, a new way to see yourself, a new way to work, and a new way to see the world,” the company says. “Whether you’re an aspiring scientist or an actual one, a professional worker or just a DIY dad, ScopeAround will help you uncover the details of what’s really around you. If you’re more focused on getting the job done than understanding the world, ScopeAround can also help. The lightweight video camera can help you see the details you need to solve a problem.”

ScopeAround’s Kickstarter campaign lists a scheduled delivery date of August 2016. The camera plus three lenses cost $219, although other options are available; if you want just one of the lenses, you can get one with a $119 pledge. Endoscope cameras for consumers aren’t new (you can get one from Walmart), but the ScopeAround’s interchangeable heads are definitely unique, as they add additional uses.

“We’ve already heard from many people who got to know about ScopeAround,” Jacob Xi, ScopeAround’s co-founder and CEO, says. “Not only from DIY dads and car lovers who like to repair cars at home, but also from a consumer who told us he would want to use it to check the bird’s nest on a tree next to his house.” Other example uses include an elementary teacher who wants to use it as an educational tool for his classroom, and a dentist who wants to show his patients their problem areas.

With only 16 days left (as of this writing), ScopeAround hasn’t yet reached the halfway point of its $100,000 goal. Should the campaign funding fail, the company says it plans to keep backers informed of its future plans.