Scientist studying using a microscope. Image by Yakuzakorat – Own work, CC BY 4.0
By combining 24 smartphone cameras on a single platform and putting the images together in a digital mosaic fashion, the researchers were able to create a single camera capable of taking gigapixel images in an area the size of a sheet of paper.
Based on this design, and, researchers have perfected the process of connecting dozens of individual cameras with sub-pixel resolution. The process has been advanced to allow a simultaneous representation of the height of objects as well.
This is possible in the form of a new high-speed 3D gigapixel microscope called the Multi-Camera Array Microscope (MCAM). Hethe behavior of dozens of free-swimming zebrafish or the grooming activity of fruit flies, down to almost the cellular level.
Not only are rich details provided; images also appear in a very wide field of view. This is possible thanks to the MCAM which now consists of 54 lenses. The multiple cameras achieve up to 230 frames per second with spatiotemporal performance exceeding 5 gigapixels per second.
The realization of these images is possible thanks to the use of support software that provides the ability to take measurements in 3D.
, Roarke Horstmeyer, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University, states: “It’s like human vision…If you merge multiple points of view (as your two eyes do), you see objects from different angles, which gives you gives height. When our colleagues studying zebrafish first used it, they were impressed. It immediately revealed new behaviors related to pitch and depth that they had never seen before.”
The software uses algorithms that connect physics with machine learning to capture every video stream from every camera and provide a 3D picture of behavior in space and time.
One example of the application is where scientists study the behavior of zebrafish exposed to neuroactive drugs. This includes assessing changes in behavior due to different classes of drugs and thus allowing potential new treatments to be tested.
Moving forward, by marrying the microscope’s 3D and fluorescent imaging capabilities, promises a new course in terms of how developmental biologists will carry out their experiments.
The investigationthe newspaper Photonics of Nature. The research paper is titled “Parallel Computational 3D Video Microscopy of Organisms Moving Freely at Multiple Gigapixels Per Second.”