03/04/2005 • Microscopy / Imaging

Independent of time, space and eyepiece:

The challenges are all too familiar. In the field of medicine an expert opinion for analysis of tissue samples is required from someone located elsewhere. Training sessions often lack sufficiently equipped microscopes or identical samples. Moreover, analysis, consultation and documentation have to be kept as cost-efficient as possible. With this in mind, Soft Imaging System, in conjunction with Olympus Europa GmbH, has developed an innovative new microscopy system. This is .slide. In contrast to conventional digital microscopy, it offers creation of virtual images at diagnostic-level resolution - and for the entire slide. These virtual slides can be accessed from any location around the world via the internet.

While digitization in microscopy has made enormous advances over the past years, it has run into some difficulties of late. One problem was not being able to capture an image area at multiple magnification levels. This meant that an overview of the entire slide with detailed views at high resolution was simply not possible.

.slide: digital virtual microscopy

.slide however, eliminates these restrictions. The scanning of entire slides is now possible - including the microscopic specimen at a level of magnification defined by the user. A virtual slide is thereby created that can be displayed on a monitor in perfect quality and archived in an online database if necessary. As when using a genuine glass slide, sections can be enlarged or reduced – by anyone with authorized access at any location in the world. It is even possible to mark points of particular interest or significance for direct recall. Comprehensive functions for labeling these sections or appending audio notes to positions marked make it convenient transporting more detailed information.

Individual components forming a successful whole

.slide is based on an entire system of individual components (microscope, motorized stage, PC, software) that interact optimally. The software is the core of the system. It regulates the acquisition procedure, enables numerous processing routines as well as ensuring flawless visualization as well as allocation of images to web-based galleries.
When selecting the hardware, particular emphasis was placed on speed, flexibility, automation, configurability, ease of use and optimal expandability.

The system is used with an Olympus BX51 microscope, known for its excellent optical performance and optimal resolution. Numerous motorized components and the unique modular and ergonomic design ensure maximum efficiency.
The integrated digital color camera offers high resolution, rapid frame rates and an exceptional signal-to-noise ratio.
Equipped with dual Xeon processors, the integrated PC features 4GB RAM as well as a 128MB graphics card enabling superior and fast visualization of samples.

Similarly, the .slide motorized stage ensures optimal performance with its ultra-fast PCI DSP stage controller card.
All motorized components of the microscope as well as the motorized stage and camera are controlled via an intuitive user interface. An autofocus function provides additional ease of use and guarantees clear, sharp images at all times.
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