3D stereomicroscopy images displayed in real time

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A technique for viewing 3D images in real time from a stereomicroscope has been developed using high-resolution digital cameras and specialised software. The system, developed by German company Tytec, allows several scientists to view microscope images in 3D, facilitating discussion and training sessions. In addition, this method of camera transmission means the image data can be stored in stereoscopic format, allowing important observations to be archived and stereoscopically displayed at a later date. Therefore, documentation of different stages within a research project can be compared.

The system consists of a high-performance, primary lens SteREO Discovery.V8 stereomicroscope from Carl Zeiss MicroImaging, with a Prosilica GE1910 from Allied Vision Technologies mounted on each of the two camera adapters. Images are transferred to a PC via Cat5 network cables and the Tytec software processes both streams into a single stereoscopic image that can then be displayed on a 3D monitor.

The result is a sharp image providing the viewer with very good 3D perception of the subject. The position of microelectric components on a circuit board, for example, is easily and accurately recognisable on a large monitor.

'With a microscopy application like this, the goal is the highest possible image quality on the monitor to get as close as possible to what one sees live under the microscope, staying as true as possible to every detail,' explained Mario Türschmann, founder of Tytec and developer of the system. 'Since the heart of the system is the conversion software, the connection between the software and the cameras was just as critical.'

The AVT Prosilica GE1910 is ideal for this application. At 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, its resolution meets the highest quality standard at this time for displays (full HD 1080p) and delivers sharp images.

Also, the GigE Vision Software Development Kit from Allied Vision Technologies met all the necessary criteria for rapid prototyping. 'No GigE Vision camera manufacturer on the market offered such a well thought-out and flexible software package,' said Türschmann. 'Both the availability for multiple operating systems as well as the unique quality and stability of the interaction between SDK and drivers made the development of the Tytec software an extremely efficient process.'

The Tytec solution will be released either as a complete system or marketed directly to stereoscope users as a separate accessory.

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