Computational creativity and the future of AI

Microscopes

Hollow microneedles open the door to new techniques for diagnosing and treating a variety ...

A research team at North Carolina State University has created incredibly small microneedles to be used in the treatment of medical conditions by inserting nanoscale dyes called quantum dots into the skin. This new procedure could advance a doctor’s ability to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, including skin cancer.  Read More

A homemade laser microscope has revealed the very lively, secret life of a drop of water

Some burning questions have just got to be answered, no matter the substantial costs involved. One such question demanding attention is: can a laser pointer be used to examine the microscopic contents of a drop of water? Happily, the answer is yes, and without the aforementioned prohibitive expense. In this home experiment, a laser pointer was shone through a drop of water collected from the base of a potted plant and the magnified image projected on an opposing wall. Read on to see a video showing a bemused-looking cat watching the resulting light show.  Read More

Andrew Miller's Global Focus microscope

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 million people worldwide died from tuberculosis in 2008. It’s definitely a disease to be taken seriously, so when people in remote locations are being tested for it, it’s best if they don’t have to wait for their samples to be processed at a distant lab. That’s why medical device designer Andrew Miller, when he was still an undergraduate at Houston’s Rice University, developed the portable, battery-operated Global Focus fluorescence microscope. In a paper published this Wednesday, Miller and his co-authors described how the $US240 Global Focus is able to detect TB-positive sputum smears just as well as laboratory microscopes worth over $40,000.  Read More

Zebrafish larvae, used in human medical research (Photo: Adam Amsterdam, MIT)

You might not care how hard or easy it is to image zebrafish larvae, but you should. Zebrafish larvae are among the most commonly-used laboratory animals, useful for studies of human diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Now, engineers from MIT have developed a system that dramatically streamlines the zebrafish-imaging process. Whereas traditional manual viewing takes about ten minutes per fish, a new system developed by engineers at MIT can get the job done in just 19 seconds.  Read More

The prototype for the compact, lightweight lensless microscope developed at UCLA (Image: O...

Making use of novel lensless imaging technology, a UCLA engineer has invented the world’s smallest, lightest telemedicine microscope. The self-contained device could radically transform global health care – particularly in Third World countries – with its ability to image blood samples or other fluids. It can even be used to test water quality in the field following a disaster like a hurricane or earthquake.  Read More

3R's A200 is a microscope in your pocket

At the Printable Electronics Exhibition in Tokyo, 3R Systems was showing off their newest model of pocket microscope, the A200. Unlike the previous Vitiny model, which shot at 300,000 pixels, the A200 has a 2 megapixel (2,000,000) CMOS sensor and kicks out images of about 1600 x 1200 pixels.  Read More

Cicindela campestris, the green tiger beetle (Photos: Micropolitan Museum)

As art museums go, the Micropolitan Museum has a very small collection. Literally. Presented by the Institute for the Promotion of the Less than One Millimetre, the Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms is an online “portrait” collection of mini- and micro-organisms photographed through a microscope. Inside the virtual museum’s halls you can find a zooplankton family portrait next to the glowing image of a mother copepod posing with her children (Okay, her children are actually egg packages). Down the hall, a postmodern bloom of diatoms shares exhibit space with a Rubenesque polysiphonia cystocarps.  Read More

An electron microscope image of a house dust mite - don't worry, it's dead

Instead of light, traditional high-resolution electron microscopes use a particle beam of electrons to illuminate a specimen. However, the particle beam also destroys the samples, meaning that electron microscopes can’t be used to image living cells. Electrical engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have proposed a new scheme that can overcome this critical limitation by using a quantum mechanical measurement technique that allows electrons to sense objects remotely without ever hitting the imaged objects, thus avoiding damage.  Read More

Image of cancer cells in the adrenal gland of a mouse
 (Image: Case Western Reserve Univer...

Recent developments in the fight against cancer have promised better ways to both identify and treat the disease. Adding to the ever growing list of advancements is Dave Wilson, a Professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Frustrated by blurry low resolution optical images of diseased tissues, he has developed a cryo-imaging system which can identify and pinpoint the exact location and number of cancer cells in a particular area while displaying the findings as a detailed three dimensional color cyber model.  Read More

The new Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope, MERLIN.

Like the wizard from the King Arthur legend, the new MERLIN electron microscope has a few tricks up its sleeve. The new Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope, more conveniently described as a FESEM, from Carl Zeiss SMT AG is designed to overcome the standard trade-offs between image resolution and the analytical capability.  Read More

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