MIC-D Digital Microscope Interface Software

The Olympus MIC-D digital microscope interface software contains three primary windows, each having a series of setup panels and menus that are utilized to capture, process, and catalog images recovered from the microscope. This interactive tutorial explores the various functions of the interface software with a pre-loaded selection of single images, zoom sequences, and full-motion video produced by the actual software.

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The tutorial initializes with a single digital image positioned in the Live Image screen in the Capture Window. Each specimen, zoom, and video sequence utilized in the tutorial was captured with the MIC-D digital microscope and has a name that includes, in parentheses, an abbreviation designating the contrast mechanism employed in obtaining the image. The following nomenclature is used: (BF), brightfield; (DF), darkfield; (OB), oblique illumination; and (RL) reflected light.

Beneath the software interface window is a Hardware Window designed to simulate hardware features, but this panel not present in the working version of the microscope software. The window contains three radio buttons entitled Single Frame (default setting), Zoom Sequence, and Movie Sequence, which are utilized to control the type of images presented in the Live Image screen. When the Single Frame radio button is active, the Specimen pull-down menu contains single images and the Focus slider can be translated back and forth to simulate hardware focus by the microscope. To choose an alternate specimen, select a new candidate from the Specimen pull-down menu, and adjust the specimen focus. Specimens can be captured by the tutorial software at any focus position, and subsequently catalogued and processed in a manner that is identical to the actual microscope interface software.

When the Zoom Sequence radio button is activated, the Specimen pull-down menu automatically loads a series of pre-captured specimen zoom sequences, and the slider changes to a Zoom magnification control. The entire microscope optical zoom range (0.7x to 9.0x) is simulated for each specimen in the Zoom Sequence mode, and single images can be captured, catalogued, and processed by the software at any zoom magnification.

Activating the Movie Sequence radio button enables loading a series of video sequences captured with the microscope into the Specimen pull-down menu. After a specific sequence has been selected from the menu, the images are loaded into a buffer and played back at a rate of 20 frames per second on the Live Image screen. The Focus slider can be employed to adjust focus on video sequences during playback, and the capture software is capable of capturing an image in the sequence at any point during playback. Captured images can be treated as described above with respect to cataloging and processing.

A thorough discussion of the individual MIC-D software interface windows is provided by the links below. These sections should be studied carefully in order to understand how the software operates and to take full advantage of the interactive tutorial. Note that captured and processed images from the tutorial cannot be saved locally to the client computer hard drive, so these features are inactivated in the tutorial. In addition, the tutorial software is unable to load images from the client computer hard drive. A majority of the other features described in the sections linked below are active, and can be explored by operating the tutorial.

Capture Window
The Capture Window contains the live video feed from the MIC-D digital microscope CMOS image sensor. This software panel can be employed to capture single images, time-lapse sequence, or full-motion video sequences and save these image or audiovisual files to specific locations on the host computer's hard drive. In addition, images from previous microscopy sessions can be loaded into the Capture Window for comparison or editing purposes.

Image Processing Window
Single images captured by the MIC-D software, or other images saved in selected file formats, can be individually edited with a collection of image processing tools housed in the Image Processing Window. This window includes algorithms for performing operations such as resizing, cropping, rotation, color adjustments, sharpness, brightness, contrast, and gamma (color tone) on digital images.

Library Window
The MIC-D software Library Window can be utilized to view and select one or more images from a collection acquired during the current imaging session, or from a previously acquired group of images. This window is useful for comparing images (two or more), sorting through collections for individual images to rename or delete, viewing video sequence playbacks, and printing images.

Contributing Authors

Matthew Parry-Hill and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.