A parallelized microscope for high-speed, high-resolution imaging of organism behavior
Award last edited on: 10/20/21

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
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Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Mark Harfouche

Company Information

Ramona Optics (AKA: Optical Wavefront Laboratories LLC)

331 West Main Street
Durham, NC 27701
   (919) 590-5851
Location: Multiple
Congr. District: 04
County: Durham

Phase I

Contract Number: 2036439
Start Date: 2/15/21    Completed: 1/31/22
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to improve current digital microscope imaging technology to produce better images and video of biological phenomena. Current microscopes are limited by a tradeoff between image resolution, viewing area and video frame rate, which presents a bottleneck in many imaging experiments. For example, current microscopes cannot observe model organisms such as the zebrafish and fruit fly at cellular detail during free movement. By simultaneously capturing high-speed, high-resolution video over a large viewing area, this proposal’s new microscope will overcome the limitations of standard microscopes to allow scientists to make new discoveries surrounding fundamental behaviors.It will also dramatically increase the speed and scope of current high-content screening experiments that observe many organisms at high-resolution in parallel, and will also open new applications in high-throughput industrial inspection. The proposed project will address the limited throughput challenges faced by current microscopes by adopting a novel parallelized imaging strategy. To overcome current trade-offs between image resolution, field-of-view and frame rate, the project’s first research objective is to develop a new type of microscope consisting of an array of micro-cameras simultaneously observing a large viewing area at high resolution and high speed. Synchronized image data captured by 54 micro-cameras, arranged in a 9x6 array, will be digitally combined via novel software into 100 megapixel-per-frame video at 100 frames per second. The resulting video stream will contain 10-100X more pixels per frame than any other high-speed image sensor currently on the market. The project’s second research objective is to create software that can efficiently process the large amount of resulting image data to enable efficient storage and analysis. The software’s first specific goal is to track, crop and analyze video data of multiple freely moving organisms to extract key behavioral statistics (e.g., position, orientation, body length/curvature). The project’s third research objective is to test and verify the new imaging hardware and software in a series of biological experiments monitoring the high-speed behavior of Drosophila Melanogaster. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review

Phase II

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Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
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