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News

Touch-controlled microscope from giant display

University Of Helsinki : 07 April, 2011  (New Product)
Researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) have in collaboration with the Finnish company Multitouch Ltd created a hand and finger gesture controlled microscope. The method is a combination of two technologies: web-based virtual microscopy and a giant-size multitouch display.
Touch-controlled microscope from giant display
In virtual microscopy a digital copy of a sample on a glass slide is created. A virtual slide can consist of up to 50 000 separate digital images aligned into a mosaic representing the whole sample at high magnification. The image mosaic can be viewed over the internet using a common web browser and the user can select any area or magnification as in conventional microscopy. WebMicroscope is used at more than ten universities in Finland and other European countries. In addition, it is used in many countries for laboratory quality assurance.

Web-based virtual microscopy the WebMicroscope was developed a few years ago by researchers at the universities of Helsinki and Tampere and has been well received among students. The multitouch microscope builds upon this technology and makes it even more useful for teaching.

Now, an entirely new way of performing microscopy: by touching a table- or even wall-sized screen the user can navigate and zoom within a microscope sample in the same way as in a conventional microscope. Using the touch control it is possible to move from the natural size of the sample to a 1000-fold magnification, at which cells and even subcellular details can be seen.

By touching a screen the user can navigate and zoom within a microscope sample in the same way as in a conventional microscope. Using the touch control it is possible to move from the natural size of the sample to a 1000-fold magnification, at which cells and even subcellular details can be seen.

Samples are digitized using a microscopy scanner and stored on an image server. Samples displayed on the screen are then continuously read from the server over the internet and the size of a single sample can be up to 200 gigabytes

The developers think that the method will revolutionize microscopy teaching: a group of students can stand around the display together with the teacher and examine the same sample. The multitouch microscope can recognize the hands of multiple users at the same time.

At scientific meetings this technology is excellent in a situation where a group of users need to simultaneously view a microscopy sample, for example when a consensus needs to be reached concerning a new disease entity or a rare case. The multitouch microscope can even recognize the hands of multiple users at the same time. A group of students can stand around the display together with the teacher and examine the same sample.

Multitouch Ltd

MultiTouch Ltd. provides professional multitouch displays and software platforms. Displays are modular Full HD LCDs, stackable into a table or wall of any size and they support multiuser environments. Software provides unlimited touch points, hand recognition, and object recognition on Windows, Linux and OS X. MultiTouch products are currently used in more than 40 countries around the world. The products are used for retail, exhibitions, marketing, museums, education, design, medical and military use. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, with US offices in Santa Clara, California and New York City.
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