3-D microscope opens eyes to prehistoric oceans and present-day resources

Sep 20, 2011

A University of Alberta research team has turned their newly developed 3-D microscope technology on ancient sea creatures and hopes to expand its use.

U of A engineering professor Dileepan Joseph and two graduate students produced a 3-D imaging system called Virtual Reflected-Light Microscopy. The technology consists of a regular , a light source, a platform that moves the objects being photographed and software programs that extract shape and reflectance from images and transform this digital information into a 3-D image. To see the full effect on a computer screen viewers wear simple, paper framed 3-D glasses with red and cyan coloured lenses. Viewers also control a virtual light source, which they reposition using their web browser.

The test subjects used in the development of the VRLM were drilling taken from beneath the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Joseph, Ph.D candidate Adam Harrison and master's student Cindy Wong produced 3-D images of ancient protozoa or that were mixed in with the sand and rock in the core samples.

Joseph says the VRLM gives geoscientists and computer programs in development much more information than simple images. The goal is to accelerate species identification of the tiny and numerous microfossils. Such identifications are used to date the rock from which the creatures are pulled. The microfossil species digitized by the U of A's VLRM prototype were found in rock known by geologists to be 60 million years old.

Geoscientists can use that kind of strata dating information in Earth sciences research and in the search for energy resources. The U of A researchers say there are multiple industrial and academic uses for their 3-D microscope technology.

Explore further: Engineers complete first comprehensive mesh-free numerical simulation of skeletal muscle tissue

More information: The development of the VLRM technology is documented by the U of A researchers in the academic publication Journal of Microscopy.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Giving fossils a new look

Aug 25, 2011

You wouldn’t expect studying fossils to be a part of engineering research, but a team in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is applying computer engineering ingenuity to find a new ...

New technology makes 3-D imaging quicker, easier

Feb 17, 2008

Technology invented by scientists from The Johns Hopkins University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev can make three-dimensional imaging quicker, easier, less expensive and more accurate, the researchers said.

New Way of 'Seeing': A 'Neutron Microscope'

Jul 30, 2004

A prototype microscope that uses neutrons instead of light to "see" magnified images has been demonstrated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Neutron microscopes might eventually offer ...

Researchers examine Earth's mysteries with Ingenuity funds

Jul 12, 2005

Sometimes 'eureka moments' for innovative science projects can come just as easily over pizza as they do while peering into a microscope. Such is the case with Dr. Dil Joseph, a University of Alberta Department of Electrical and ...

Recommended for you

Analyzing gold and steel – rapidly and precisely

25 minutes ago

Optical emission spectrometers are widely used in the steel industry but the instruments currently employed are relatively large and bulky. A novel sensor makes it possible to significantly reduce their size ...

More efficient transformer materials

45 minutes ago

Almost every electronic device contains a transformer. An important material used in their construction is electrical steel. Researchers have found a way to improve the performance of electrical steel and ...

Sensor network tracks down illegal bomb-making

55 minutes ago

Terrorists can manufacture bombs with relative ease, few aids and easily accessible materials such as synthetic fertilizer. Not always do security forces succeed in preventing the attacks and tracking down ...

Miniature camera may reduce accidents

1 hour ago

Measuring only a few cubic millimeters, a new type of camera module might soon be integrated into future driver assistance systems to help car drivers facing critical situations. The little gadget can be ...

User comments : 0