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Project - Versatile imaging platform using open source technologies


A large number of tasks in materials characterisation, biological analysis or medical diagnostics rely on the detection of specific features in images. Most applications do not require particularly high frame rates or resolutions and a webcam often provides sufficient image quality. However, professional software and off the shelf systems are costly and rarely rely on such low cost solutions, leading to unnecessary cost for schools and research teams looking for automated systems.


The Raspberry Pi and its camera module offer fantastic opportunities to develop an open platform for imaging. Previous project students have established a robust framework for designing automated imaging systems. However, microscopy applications in material sciences and biological/biomedical sciences also strongly rely on the establishment of a stable and controlled chemical and physical environment, including temperature, humidity, gas composition, etc. The project will involve the development a custom system for environmental control, including a chamber, set of sensors and control system. It will be applying to monitor experiments either in the field of Biology/Biomedical sciences, or Material sciences.

During this project the student will:

- learn about microscopy, imaging and sensing technologies,

- develop her/his team working skills,

- improve her/his communication skills by presenting results and generating public domain documentation.

Funding may be available as a UROP for the summer for the project.


Skills in programming, electronics and/or optics are welcome.

A particular important output will be the documentation throughout the project, including software sharing on github or other open repositories.

Resources available

The student will be allocated a consumables budget of up to £500.

Project students will be required to spend an extra week after the end of their project integrating their work into the OpenLabTools web resource. Students will receive a £250 grant for that purpose. This contribution will not be assessed as part of the MEng project.

Project supervisor

Alexandre Kabla