One day Kathy Ceceri noticed a tick on her arm and started to worry that it was the kind that carried Lyme disease. So she went to her home lab, put the tiny arachnid under her microscope, which is connected to her computer through a U.S.B. cable, and studied the image.

 “It was,” she said. “Then of course I Googled what to do when you’ve been bitten by a deer tick.”

Ms. Ceceri’s microscope, a Digital Blue QX5, is one of several pieces of scientific equipment that make up her home lab, which she has set up on her dining room table...

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