Gigantic multitouch displays become microscopes

“All training related to microscopes will become digital within ten years,” believes Senior Lecturer Johan Lundin, MD, PhD, from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland.

The multitouch microscope is an innovation developed by researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) in collaboration with MultiTouch, a Finnish company. The innovation is based on two technologies created in Finland: web-based virtual microscopy and a giant-size multitouch display.

– Traditional microscopes can only be used to digitize a small part of a sample, says Johan Lundin. Virtual microscopy can be used to create a comprehensive montage of the sample. The montage can consist of as many as 50,000 images.

The smallest multitouch microscope has a 46-inch screen, which make iPads seem like postage stamps. Several people can examine the same sample from a display that has been placed on a desk, for example.

By touching the screen, the image can be enlarged and reduced in the same manner as in smartphones.

– There is one difference, though, says Lundin. Smartphones can be controlled with fingertips, but both palms are needed when zooming an image on the giant-size display of a multitouch microscope.

The multitouch microscope is suitable for many scientific fields, including pathology, microbiology and cell biology.

– It can be used in all fields in which microscopy is needed, Lundin sums up. The multitouch microscope is particularly useful in teaching.

It is much easier to learn than a traditional microscope, which typically only allows one person at a time to examine a sample. The multitouch microscope adds a new, interactive dimension to teaching.

The multitouch microscope was presented to the media last week at the ChemBio Finland event at the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre.

An introductory video is available on YouTube.

Text: Nadine Aschan
Photo: Visa Noronen
Translation: AAC Global

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