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Microscopes

Science

Machine automatically cultivates 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

Science

Petri dish gets 21st Century update

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

Good Thinking

Cheap, portable microscope uses holograms instead of lenses

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

Science

GelSight allows for portable 3D super-high-resolution imaging

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

Science

'Quantum tip' enables higher-resolution scanning microscopy

When trying to see objects that are too small for optical microscopes to image, scientists often turn to scanning probe microscopes. Instead of a lens, these instruments have a tiny suspended tip, that moves up and down as it makes contact with the object’s surface. An image, which can reveal details as small as one millionth of a millimeter, is obtained by scanning that probe back and forth across the object. Scientists from Germany’s Universitaet Tübingen have now taken scanning probe microscopy a step farther, by creating a probe made not from a solid material, but from a gas of atoms – this “quantum tip” is said to increase the resolution of images beyond what has so far been possible.Read More

Science

Ultrathin microscope gets images faster

With conventional microscopy, if a scientist wishes to obtain a high-resolution image of a relatively broad area, they typically have to use a microscope that scans across that area in a grid pattern, recording many images one point at a time. Those images are then joined together to form one complete picture. Such systems take a long time to perform a scan, so both the microscope and the subject must be held still while it's taking place. Researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, however, have created a thin, handheld microscope that can reportedly obtain similar-quality images in less than one second.Read More

Children

Zoomy lets kids take digital photos of microscopic details

If you want to get a child interested in the sciences, just let them loose with a microscope. Proper stage microscopes can be pricey, however, and are somewhat tricky for youngsters to use. Fortunately, there are options like the Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope – it's a simple device that plugs into the USB port of a PC or Mac, then feeds through illuminated, magnified images of whatever it's placed over.Read More

Mobile Technology

Ready for your close-up? It's a microscope for the iPhone

It's all very well and good that iPhones can give you directions, let you surf the web, and do about a thousand other things, but what if you want to get a close look at something really tiny? Well, the phone can't help you with that on its own, but it can if you equip it with the Mini Microscope for iPhone. Like the University of California, Davis' more clinical CellScope, it mounts over the lens of the phone's camera. Once in place, you can use it to inspect your thumb, get to know the insects in your neighborhood, or even to detect counterfeit currency. Read More

Science

Multitouch gesture controlled microscope - the 'iPad on steroids'

Researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) have collaborated with Finnish company Multitouch Ltd to create a giant touch and gesture controlled microscope. The Multitouch microscope uses a combination of web based microscopy and a 46-inch multitouch display to create what researcher Dr Johan Lundin calls "an iPad on steroids." A useful tool for interactive teaching and learning, the microscope allows users to zoom in or out with a two handed stretch or pinch gesture – all the way down to 1000x magnification.Read More

Good Thinking

Gemlike 3D microscope lens developed

Engineers from Ohio State University have developed what they say is the world’s first microscope lens capable of obtaining three-dimensional images. While 3D microscopy has already been achieved, it has previously required the use of multiple lenses, or of a single camera that moves around the object being imaged. The new device, however, is just a single lens that sits in place on an existing microscope.Read More

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