Network remote control tailors to the need of light microscopy users

1st April 2013

Dr Manfred Kässons looks at a new package which provides network remote control for light microscopy applications.

The advantages telemicroscopy offers are numerous and compelling. Telemicroscopy saves time. When questions arise regarding a crucial evaluation, other colleagues can be consulted concerning the live image right away. Opinions can be exchanged no matter where the two parties are located. Distance is not an issue.

In addition, network remote microscopy eliminates the need for costly courier services and puts an end to needless waiting. Clean rooms and controlled environmental facilities can handle toxic substances or viruses much more safely. These examples demonstrate that Soft Imaging System's analySIS intraScope is ideal for applications in all areas of medicine (anatomy, histology, pathology), of biology (cell biology, zoology, etc.) and of materials analysis.

The analySIS intraScope concept is based on the TCP/IP internet communications protocol which guarantees variable connection speeds ­ depending on the internet or LAN/WAN connection (minimum recommended is S-DSL, 384 kBit/sec). The data and function calls between server (computer with the microscope, camera and motor stage, etc.) and client are executed by analySIS intraScope (on both client and server versions). As opposed to most highly exclusive telemicroscopy products, analySIS intraScope uses existing network structures and requires no expensive special hardware. This makes it accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The range of functions offered by analySIS intraScope is tailored to the needs of light microscopy users. An electronic address book manages the list of available network remote stations. Images are transmitted via predefined aintraScope cameras'. analySIS intraScope is optimised for use with Soft Imaging System's FireWire digital cameras and all cameras that can be attached to a GrabBit on a network remote server. For optimal performance, images can be compressed before transmission. analySIS intraScope and the Olympus BX, IX and AX automated light microscopes are guaranteed to interact perfectly. These microscopes can be totally remote controlled by the client. Remote-control access includes the objectives, shutter, filter cube and contrast techniques. In addition, the software autofocus can be client activated. The client also has direct access to all parametrisable camera properties for immediate acquisition of image stacks. analySIS intraScope is so versatile that it is capable of controlling motor stages allowing the client to operate them as well. High-resolution overview images can be acquired automatically using motorised stages. intraScope acquires the component images and automatically moves the stage to the next respective position. The component images are stitched together to form the high-resolution overview image. The analySIS intraScope stage navigator also offers acquisition of overview images.

Using the overview image, the user selects specific sections of interest within the sample. These can then be acquired at higher magnification without delay. The stage is automatically moved to the position selected within the overview image. A frame shows the image segment to be acquired, as defined by the current settings. The size of the image segment within this frame will vary depending on what objective has been selected. Once the user initiates acquisition, this image segment is automatically acquired.

The analySIS intraScope full screen mode provides a user interface that is refreshingly uncluttered. The special button bar of predefined functions and generous image area are especially user friendly. The button bar gives users direct, one-click access to the most important microscope functions available.

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Dr Manfred Kässons is with Soft Imaging System, Münster, Germany.




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