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Microscopes

A diagram of the laser scalpel's optical system (Image: Ben-Yakar Group, University of Tex...

The practice of surgically removing diseased or damaged tissue within the body is something of a trade-off – quite often, some of the surrounding healthy tissue will also end up being removed in the process. In highly-sensitive areas such as the brain or spinal cord, where a fraction of a millimeter either way can have huge consequences, sometimes surgery is deemed to be just too risky. A newly-developed endoscopic laser “scalpel,” however, looks like it could lower those risks considerably.  Read More

Magnifi universal photoadapter case for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S

The list of add-ons that let you to tinker with the photo taking capabilities of your iPhone is about to get even bigger with the launch of Magnifi. Rather than tacking a zoom or fish-eye lens onto the smartphone, Magnifi integrates an adapter into the case so that your phone can be hooked-up to most optical instruments with an eye-piece such as binoculars, microscopes or telescopes.  Read More

A ptychographic reconstruction of gold particles showing the atomic fringes (Image: Univer...

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created what sounds impossible - even nonsensical: an experimental electron microscope without lenses that not only works, but is orders of magnitude more powerful than current models. By means of a new form of mathematical analysis, scientists can take the meaningless patterns of dots and circles created by the lens-less microscope and create images that are of high resolution and contrast and, potentially, up to 100 times greater magnification.  Read More

Scientists have created a scanner that can be attached to a mobile phone, to detect the pr...

Soon, you may never have to play Russian roulette with potato salad again. Instead of just hoping that E. coli bacteria aren't present in your foods or drinks, you could instead use your mobile phone to find out for sure. That phone would have to be equipped with a bacteria-detecting scanner, which researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science recently created - in a prototype version, for now.  Read More

With a superlens microscope, everyday people would be able to see minute details of tiny o...

Some day, you may have a microscope on your smartphone camera that's as powerful as a scanning electron microscope. If you do, it will likely be thanks to research presently being conducted by Durdu Guney, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University. He is working on creating a metamaterial-based "superlens" - a long sought-after optically-perfect lens, that could use visible light to image objects as small as 100 nanometers across.  Read More

Stained samples of pollen (left images) and plant stems (right two images). Top row: comme...

A team from the University of California at Davis has developed an affordable way to give the iPhone surprisingly capable chemical detection and imaging powers. We've reported on cellphone microscopes before, but this version claims to be simpler in concept and less expensive, plus it adds spectroscopy to its list of abilities  Read More

Fraunhofer has developed a system that automatically cultivates and observes cell cultures...

Laboratory technicians, in many different fields of research, spend a lot of time preparing and analyzing cell cultures. The process involves putting cells in a petri dish, adding nutrients, checking on cell growth, and then transferring cells to a separate container once sufficient colonies have been established. In an effort to streamline the laboratory workload, however, German research group Fraunhofer has now created an automated system that performs all of those tasks with no human intervention.  Read More

The ePetri prototype uses an image sensor and a smartphone's LED display as a scanning lig...

When it comes to laboratory equipment, it doesn’t get much more basic than the humble petri dish. Aside from moving from glass to plastic and the addition of rings on their lids and bases that allows them to be stacked, the petri dish has remained largely unchanged since its invention by German bacteriologist Julius Richard Petri and his assistant Robert Koch in the late 1800s. Now researchers at the California Institute of technology (Caltech) have dragged the petri dish into the 21st Century by incorporating an image sensor like those found in mobile phone cameras that does away with the need for bulky microscopes.  Read More

UCLA's low-cost, lightweight, rugged microscope utilizes holograms instead of lenses (Imag...

While financial contributions are certainly a great help to health care practitioners in developing nations, one of the things that they really need is rugged, portable, low-cost medical equipment that is compatible with an often-limited local infrastructure. Several such devices are currently under development, such as a battery-powered surgical lamp, a salad-spinner-based centrifuge, and a baby-warmer that utilizes wax. UCLA is now working on another appropriate technology in the form of a small, inexpensive microscope that uses holograms instead of lenses to image what can't be seen by the human eye.  Read More

MIT has developed a system known as GelSight, that uses painted rubber to obtain 3D images...

Typically, if someone wishes to obtain three-dimensional images of micrometer-scale objects, they need to use a device such as a confocal microscope or a white-light interferometer. Such equipment is big, expensive, and often has to be mounted on a vibration-free table. Even then, it can take up to a few hours to get the finished images. Scientists at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, however, have created a system that can obtain the same kind of images almost instantly, using a soda can-sized sensor and a sheet of rubber. It’s called GelSight.  Read More

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