Micro Gigapixel Imager

The Gigapixel Micro Imager is designed for imaging complete subjects with microscopic detail and depth of field. The Imager provides everything necessary to complete the imaging process including the necessary robotics for precise positioning of the subject, integrated camera and lighting system, automated image capture tools, image processing software, and online tools for viewing, analysis, and sharing of the resulting imagery. The system is designed to be easily used and requires minimal oversight and effort to image the subjects. 

The prototype rig shown below was developed and fabricated by Four Chambers Studio / Gene Cooper. Special thanks to Scott Vannote, Alison Hunter, and Rik Littlefield. The current prototype utilizes the base motion control infrastructure provided by the Probotix Fireball V90 CNC System. Special thanks Len Shelton and Probotix for their engineering support! 

Specifications of the current prototype (v4):
  • image capture width of 12" (X)
  • image capture length of 14" (Y)
  • image capture depth of 3" (Z)
  • can image subjects as small as 2mm x 2mm
  • manual 6" adjustable rail for coarse positioning of the camera
  • 2 flash units...modified Vivitar 285HV flashes with external power supplies
  • flash adjustment positioning arms
  • Probotix CNC 3 axis system with heavy duty stepper motors, controllers, and Isolated Power Supply
  • Playstation and Keypad interface options
  • Canon T2i 18 megapixel CMOS camera
  • Canon MPE 65mm lens (1X - 5X /  3X - 8X with telecentric adapter)
  • Telecentric optic adapter (achromat 20mm diameter / 50mm FL lens)
  • External power supply for Canon T2i
  • USB interface from Computer to Camera and Motor Controller
  • Aluminum speed rail support structure (adjustable rake and height)
  • LED modelling lights (two 3 watt led lights) for imaging preview
  • removable flash lighting diffuser
  • and a bunch of custom wiring and milled adapter plates

There are a number of instrument designs that could be used. This design is particularly appealing to us since it can accommodate a very wide variety of subjects and can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of specific research. In particular, subjects that are difficult to image due to have a high weight, fragility, and immobility. These might include fossils that are still in situ, heavy or bulky geology samples, live plants which cannot be put under a microscope, subjects that are vertical (rig can be tilted at 90 degrees), etc. 

We welcome your feedback and input as we continue to refine the prototypes and accommodate very specific imaging needs. Contact Gene Cooper at gene@fourchambers.org for more information.