Finland develops a new kind of microscope with multi-touch display

Researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) have in collaboration with the Finnish company Multitouch created a hand and finger gesture controlled microscope. The method is a combination between two technologies: web-based virtual microscopy and a giant size multitouch display. The result is an entirely new way of performing microscopy: by touching a table- or even wall-sized screen the user can navigate and zoom within a microscope sample in the same way as in a conventional microscope. Using the touch control it is possible to move from the natural size of the sample to a 1000-fold magnification, at which cells and even subcellular details can be seen.

The developers think that the method will revolutionize microscopy teaching: a group of students can stand around the display together with the teacher and all can examine the same sample. The multitouch microscope can recognize the hands of multiple users at the same time. The multitouch microscope brings a new dimension into interactive teaching and the learning curve is practically zero as compared to conventional microscopy which can be quite challenging for students.