Democratising "Microscopi": a 3D printed automated XYZT fluorescence imaging system for teaching, outreach and fieldwork.
Wincott M., Jefferson A., Dobbie IM., Booth MJ., Davis I., Parton RM.
Commercial fluorescence microscope stands and fully automated XYZt fluorescence imaging systems are generally beyond the limited budgets available for teaching and outreach. We have addressed this problem by developing "Microscopi", an accessible, affordable, DIY automated imaging system that is built from 3D printed and commodity off-the-shelf hardware, including electro-mechanical, computer and optical components. Our design features automated sample navigation and image capture with a simple web-based graphical user interface, accessible with a tablet or other mobile device. The light path can easily be switched between different imaging modalities. The open source Python-based control software allows the hardware to be driven as an integrated imaging system. Furthermore, the microscope is fully customisable, which also enhances its value as a learning tool. Here, we describe the basic design and demonstrate imaging performance for a range of easily sourced specimens.