ModMicro and ModLight

Why? (The Short Story)

A global imbalance is prevalent when considering the access and availability of specialised microscopy hardware and techniques in research and across diagnostics. The reason often is costs and technical know-how, and the lack of adequate support (this, in many cases, justifies the high cost of proprietary systems). This research project will resolve this challenge, with simple, 3D printed designs and in-house components and assembly for achieving high resolution and complex microscopy at a fraction of the cost.

The Long(er) Story

Modular microscopy is an example of the project type and collaborative spirit our lab is interested in. This project combines our image processing background with our collaborators, Dr Richard Bowman (OpenFlexure), Dr Amanda Wright (University of Nottingham) and Dr Benedict Diederich (uC2), as we work towards building a suite of microscopy hardware at affordable prices. Our primary motivation is to make advanced microscopy techniques accessible, both economically and globally.

Within this motivation to provide low-cost alternatives, we are also building a suite of LED-based modular light sources, leveraging 3D printing and off-the-shelf equipment. ModLight (v1.1) includes LED modules and two device designs that can produce collimated beams of visible and near-infrared light. The files can be downloaded here. Follow the GitHub repository for the latest updates.

ModLight is a certified Open Source Hardware (OSHW) project, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Our research is currently focused on building on available, open-access technology and techniques, enhanced by image processing and machine learning approaches. The research combines contributions from Graham Gibson (Optics Group), Robert Archibald and Harriet Bishop.

This project includes a key element of bringing microscopy to schools in the UK. Beginning with Glasgow and in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and STEM Ambassadors Scotland, we are piloting a project to interact with schools to take these affordable and robust microscopes to primary schools. To find out more, check out our Outreach page. If you would like to get involved, please contact us by email.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Through this project, we are now supporting and collaborating with colleagues at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (SPIE Student Chapter) to bring 3D-printed microscopes to high schools in Brazil. The project is led by Dr Claire Marie Cisowski (Optics Group, University of Glasgow) and Ms Amanda Fritsch (President, UFRGS SPIE Student Chapter). This project was made possible through an SPIE Education Outreach Grant.

All updates from this project are actively updated on Twitter.
Follow #ModMicroUofG, #ModLightUofG and #ModMicroPrimary.

Relevant Publications and Datasets

Gibson, G. et al., Modular Light Sources for Microscopy and Beyond (ModLight). arXiv (7 June 2022)

Archibald, R. et al., Open-source microscopic solution for classification of biological samples. Proc. SPIE 11879, Frontiers in Biophotonics and Imaging, 118790D (6 October 2021); DOI: 10.1117/12.2599435

2022, ModLight GitHub Repository (Version 1.1)

Archibald R., Westlake S. T., Gibson G., and Kallepalli, A. (2021); OPEN-BIOset: A dataset of microscope images collected using the OpenFlexure Delta Stage Microscope, University of Glasgow. DOI: 10.5525/gla.researchdata.1149