writes: "The QX3 Video Microscope may have been an obscure commercial failure as an educational toy, but it is widely available (for now, at least) as a fantastic tool/toy for any geek. The QX3 hooks up to a USB port and delivers live color 10X, 60X or 200X microphotos at 512x384 pixel resolution. Its kid-friendly software even makes time lapse videos a snap, like this one of TNT synthesis - a whole new way to blow up the lab, do not try this at home! Educators are doing amazing things with the QX3 in their classrooms.
Sourceforge even has documentation on the software command structure used by the QX3, so it may be considered an open source microscope. Get yours today for under $50 at surplus closeout or EBay before they're all gone!"
The Toys-R-Us nearest to me has one QX3+ left (now with my name on it) at $30, so I hope it really does work under Linux. And it's a lot less complicated than building a Scanning-Tunneling microscope