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Scott Byker

Scott Byker
Microscopes Intl. LLC

March 30, 2014

Blog
The Future of Microscopes

Unaided Image Analysis of Microscopic Data

I took a tour of the Super Computer Lab at the University of Colorado. We asked our tour guide "What is the future of Super Computing?" We waited for an insightful answer! We were hoping to hear about Quantum Computing or GPU Computing or something cool like that. The answer was so boring, I can't repeat it.

I started thinking... What is the future of the microscope? Not being an expert, I decided to ask several 30+ year veterans of the microscope wars.

I was at one of the big trade shows and stopped to talk with the top microscope vendors. I asked the question, "What is the future of Microscopes?" Most of the answers were blah blah blah boring, but one of them caught my eyes and ears!

Vendor
Pointing a thumb down. "Let me tell you the truth, our microscope sales are dropping!"
Me
"What do you attribute that to?"
Vendor
"Automated devices that remove the human from the diagnosis."
Me
"What are you doing to combat these devices?"
Vendor
Gave a shoulder shrug.

I explained that Microscopes International has created a small digital scanning microscope that can automate any microscopic analysis and can be turned into a turnkey solution. I told him MI created a low cost digital scanning microscope that cost less than buying a microscope, camera, stage and software.

Vendor
"That can't be done!"
Me
I smiled.
Vendor
Frowned.

So, what is the "Future of the Microscope?" Here are my thoughts. Remember, I am not an expert. I am just a semi-intelligent biped and Yes, I have a stake in being right!

The immediate trend is Whole Slide Imaging. This reminds me of Mainframe computing. Big machines doing work behind closed doors. Scanning thousands of slides, storing petabytes of data for someone to look at ... later. And, annually spending $100,000 and more for scanners and ever increasing storage.

Today, Mainframe computers still have uses, but the world is full of personal computing devices. I see a future full of personal scanning microscopes. Where "Automated Analysis" and telepathology are easy. Instead of a human spending hours looking into the microscope, the computer does the work and finds solutions — parasitology, oncology, hematology, image cytometry, and so on. The computer can store the results and allow users to locally or remotely confirm the analysis.

So, how do we get to this Nirvana? We need low cost scanning microscopes like the uScopeMX from Microscopes International. With this new category of low cost digital scanning microscopes the average bio-innovator can now create profitable solutions. Just like the personal computer revolution, explosive innovation begins when everyone has access to fully automated scanning microscopes.

What are your thoughts?


Scott

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