Monday - April 24, 2006
Career Opportunities in Virtual Microscopy
Bacus Laboratories, Inc., is still looking to hire a Software Engineer and a Sales Specialist. Check out our Careers web page if you are interested.
(We just added a Software Engineer to the team today)
Friday - February 10, 2006
Career Opportunities in Virtual Microscopy
Bacus Laboratories, Inc., is looking to hire some Software Engineers and a Sales Specialist. Check out our Careers web page if you are interested.
Monday - March 28, 2005
Version 1.6 of the COOLSCOPE VS Software Suite was released today. This is by far the best software for the COOLSCOPE yet, and is ready for some upcoming firmware upgrades that are going to make things much faster. The user interface is simpler, the software has more functionality and is faster, enough said. There was a lot of hard work that took place in Chicago and Tokyo to make that happen. And it is really nice to be able to distribute this software automatically to COOLSCOPE customers, we have a system in place that handles that with ease now.
Wednesday - February 23, 2005
I just read a nice write up of the COOLSCOPE VS in the CAP TODAY. Stan Schwartz of Nikon Instruments was interviewed, and I thought he gave an excellent description of many of the diverse applications the COOLSCOPE VS has, it really is quite a flexible machine. And as you can see from the price mentioned in the article, quite a lot of bang for the buck.
I am just wrapping up our next major release of the COOLSCOPE VS software suite, and it will be on display at the USCAP show that starts this weekend. This is a really sweet update, which includes an even simpler user interface that has a really snappy look with the use of transparency in all the right places. Improved scanning speeds and a more streamlined workflow, it's just been used heavily by bunch of salespeople and customers over the past year and we have listened to the feedback and tweaked and or improved the software in many ways.
Thursday - February 17, 2005
There is a new product brochure available for the COOLSCOPE VS online at the BLI web site.
Friday - February 11, 2005
Have you seen the new Google maps yet?
I find the delivery mechanism and the user interface very interesting.
If you can operate a virtual microscopy viewer of my design, you will be very familiar using Google maps. The map data similar to digital microscope slide data is immense and is delivered in tiles, the user can scroll around the map by clicking and dragging with the mouse. The user can also center the view with a double click of the mouse, my viewers use a single click because I have found that some of our users have problems with a double click. Zoom is controlled with a slide bar on the left, thus also acting as an indicator of the current zoom level. There is currently no thumbnail or concurrent overview of the image as you navigate, but I guess they will eventually have that as well.
Interesting that they chose to deliver all this with the built in scripting engine of the browsers. On the positive side, they don't rely on any plugin to be present on the users system, like a Java VM or Flash, but on the negative side they become very specific to certain browsers. For instance this doesn't work on the Safari web browser on the Mac yet.
Wednesday - November 10, 2004
The COOLSCOPE VS was mentioned in Advanced Imaging, cool!
Wednesday - September 01, 2004
Bacus Labs released WebSlide Browser v3.7 today, which is a software application that I have been developing for many years now. This software is basically a web browser with custom designed functionality for viewing virtual microscope slides, which allows your personal computer to function as a powerful digital microscope. This new version of software features support for the new COOLSCOPE VS.
I always like working on this application, it's large but very clean and well designed. The software has a surprising amount of functionality, besides my daily use for virtual microscopy, I use it as a light duty web browser due to its very small size, multimedia capabilities and speed. The other thing I enjoy about it is that I can share it with anybody easily, it's free to download, have a look.
Thursday - August 26, 2004
There are a couple of screen shots of the new COOLSCOPE VS suite on BacusLabs.com
Monday - August 16, 2004
This Nikon press release for the COOLSCOPE VS hit the streets today.
Under the What's New section at NikonUSA.com is the new COOLSCOPE VS web page.
Now I can start talking about what I have been working so hard on for the past 10 months! And it really is special.
Thursday - June 03, 2004
Bacus Labs released a new version of TMAscore, tissue microarray image analysis software utilizing WebSlide® virtual slide technology.
Monday - May 10, 2004
Just got back from New York this evening, I was out at Nikon USA Headquarters on business. That's always a fun and interesting trip, I the opportunity to see a bunch of cool new stuff today.
Cool as in COOLSCOPE.
Sunday - May 09, 2004
I was named inventor on our tenth patent awarded to Bacus Laboratories, Inc., 6,674,881 Method and Apparatus for Internet, Intranet, and Local Viewing of Virtual Microscope Slides.
Thursday - April 01, 2004
A slick web site can make any company look more than it is, and it is far easier to promise future products on a web site than it is to actually deliver functioning products, particularly in virtual microscopy. At first glance, it would seem an easy task to digitize a 1" by 3" piece of glass with the resolution of a microscope, and deliver that media in a practical fashion to the average personal computer, but in fact it is a daunting task. I can name at least three companies in the United States alone, that have claimed to be virtual microscopy companies for at least a year or more.
They all have the same thing in common, a slick web site, strong claims that their scanning will be the fastest, computer generated pictures of the scanner, and no virtual slides online for demonstration or evaluation.
If you can't put a real picture of your scanning equipment online it's only a prototype, perhaps one or two exist, and it's obviously far from being manufactured. If you can't put a generous amount of slides online by now, in an organized fashion where a large group of users may be simultaneously looking at a variety of different slides, your server and viewing software technology is already years behind. And until all the previously mentioned products are solid and in daily use with a variety of different customers, you won't have any foundation let alone understanding of doing distributed digital image analysis applications with virtual slides.
These may seem like strong statements, especially if you just recently learned about virtual microscopy, but I have been in the virtual microscopy business for a decade now, and I have seen the progress of development in my company as well as my real competitors over that time.
I should mention that I can also name at least three companies in the United States that do deliver virtual microscopy products. And I certainly know one company that does show pictures of actual scanners and demonstrate them, that can scan slides for you today, and that has hundreds of virtual slides online that you can evaluate from your computer right now, just a click a way from my blog. A company that has considered scanning, serving and viewing virtual slides as a common daily practice for years, not as something that is new. A company that has the industry leading viewing software which is free to download and use immediately, and does not lean on 3rd party viewing software which is not designed for virtual microscopy. A company that has virtual slides that can be scanned as a stack and focused like an actual microscope. A company that is already delivering several distributed image analysis applications that utilize virtual slide technology, allowing people to quantitate specimen on microscope slides in ways that were never possible before. Bacus Laboratories, Inc., pioneered virtual microscopy and happens to be one of those companies that does deliver virtual microscopy products.
Thursday - March 11, 2004
So what is a COOLSCOPE?
It's a digital microscope Internet appliance made by Nikon. I remember several years ago people talking about Internet appliances, like your microwave or refrigerator were going to be on the net, but the COOLSCOPE really makes sense as a Internet appliance. It is the size of a typical PC computer case, with a USB mouse/keyboard port, monitor/LCD projector connector and an Ethernet connector on the back side. Inside it are two objectives, a 10x and a 40x, optics that can switch in and provide two additional magnifications at 5x and 20x. The digital camera inside it is a 2/3" 5.24 megapixel unit from Nikon, and the light source is a "cool" LED plate beneath the slide. The microscope stage also serves as the arm that extends from the unit to accept the slide, and when it is retracted a macro mode scans the entire slide in two adjacent images. Integrated HTTP, FTP and Telnet servers provide the interface for control and transferring images.
Standalone, it could serve as a microscope projector connected to a LCD projector, or as just a still image capture machine, saving images on a flash card. Connect it to the Internet, and it can be controlled by another person at a remote location with a web browser.
When my father and I were first given a preview of the COOLSCOPE, we immediately knew that this could be the platform for an innovative, affordable virtual microscopy scanner. Lee Shuett of Nikon Instruments, Inc. also shared the vision of a new affordable system for virtual microscopy, and a good relationship and partnership formed. We have been actually finding ways to lower the cost of our own scanning system BLISS over the years as our competitors continue to raise their prices. However, the COOLSCOPE VS introduces a new price/performance level in virtual microscopy.
Bacus Laboratories, Inc. will develop software to allow the Nikon COOLSCOPE to scan virtual slides into the WebSlide format, which will allow Nikon's COOLSCOPE customers to leverage a wide variety of the software Bacus Labs has developed over the past 10 years specifically for virtual microscopy. A suite of custom scanning and server software will be shipped in the box with every COOLSCOPE in the USA.
Nikon will be able to exclusively distribute some of the best products for virtual microscopy custom adapted to their hardware, Bacus Labs has exclusive access to the unique COOLSCOPE VS platform for virtual microscopy, and virtual microscopy customers will get more for the money than was ever possible before. This is a win-win-win, a very rare combination.
Thursday - March 04, 2004
Although I have been developing software on this project for months, I can finally start talking about it. The link to the press release below just hit the wires.
Nikon Announces Exclusive Distribution of Bacus Labs Virtual Microscopy Software With its New Nikon COOLSCOPE VS
This is really great news for the virtual microscopy market, the new Nikon COOLSCOPE VS with our software will by far be the most cost effective, bang for the buck scanner you can buy.
Tuesday - February 10, 2004
Bacus Labs released WebSlide Browser v3.6 today. This is a software application that I have been developing over several years now, and software that I use daily.
It sets many firsts, for instance it was the first commercially available virtual microscopy software. (Bacus Labs is going to celebrate its 10th year of business this year) This software is particularly adept for viewing digital microscope slides from a variety of media, including over a network.
It introduced the multipane/magnification view of a microscope slide, i.e. being able to simultaneously see a thumbnail overview of the entire slide, while viewing a higher magnification in an adjacent pane. Microscopists frequently change the objectives on their microscopes to low power to navigate and high power to examine.
It was the first to integrate interactive measurements over a virtual slide.
It was the first to integrate annotation overlays on a virtual slide.
It was the first to allow multiple users to view the same virtual slide over the Internet and synchronize their views to simulate a multiheaded microscope, including a chat system.
It was the first to integrate html and other multimedia around a virtual slide viewing pane so a wide variety of information can be presented with the slide in a flexible, standard way.
It was the first to integrate focusing a virtual slide.
And this version will be the first to... I can't write about that yet, but it's already in there!
And by the way, did you know it is a good lightweight web browser? Here is my web site in WebSlide Browser.
Thursday - November 20, 2003
I've been spending much of my time in front of computers lately developing software, so I have fallen behind on personal emails and blogging. I really enjoy developing software, the whole process of it, design to finish.
I've been working on some fascinating projects in virtual microscopy lately, OK, I have been totally absorbed in them, yielding a few "firsts" and "breakthroughs" that are even amazing to me. The development tools I have been using, some for a decade now, some new, really allow small teams to get complex projects completed rapidly.
For instance, one of the best and most forward thinking IDE's I have ever used to date is IntelliJ IDEA for Java. Java is not my main language for development, but I have programmed in it for many years now, and I use it primarily for development of one of my companies virtual microscopy viewers, an applet for use in web browsers. IDEA is just a sweet environment to work in if you are a real programmer, there are just some really cool features it has that I wish were incorporated into other IDE's at the moment. As long as we are on Java, I also like to use Borland's JBuilder which I think I have been using since v3. Both of these environments work on multiple platforms, (i.e. Linux, OS X, Windows) and moving my project between either IDE or any platform is easy.
My main choice of IDE for Windows development is Borland Delphi, since Delphi 1. One of the easiest to use tools out there, yet deep enough for the professional. I have built some very nice software with Delphi over the years.
Thursday - October 09, 2003
I haven't written about virtual microscopy in awhile, it's not for lack of effort, I have been busy working on several exciting projects throughout this year with my team at Bacus Labs.
Going back about 10 years in history, during the normal operation of the CAS 100 and CAS 200 imaging systems a technician manually manipulated the microscope and captured individual grayscale images and made quantitative measurements over a small subjective area of the slide. Years later automated microscopes start performing the same tasks offering the improvement of measuring a larger sample area, but it ties up an expensive system with one slide at a time under the lens as the results are obtained. Now we are entering the era where a microscope slide scanner rapidly digitizes the entire slide and places it on a server for archival, viewing and subsequent image analysis. Network distributed image analysis, it works, and it's here now.
We just released a product utilizing this technique, software for tissue microarray (TMA) research, named TMAscore. It's main user interface is that of a virtual microscopy viewer, with an image analysis and multivariate classifier engine built in behind it. The software is novel in itself for tissue microarray research, but the cool thing is that obviously these virtual slides are available over the network. So now I can work with my laptop on a WiFi wireless network and do research and analysis that once tied me to the microscope workstation. I don't have to store the slides on my hard disk, they are safe and secure on the server. And of course there are all the obvious benefits of virtual slides, they don't fade or break, and are easy to find, or share with collaborators.
Friday - June 27, 2003
Several days ago I visited one of the American
Board of Pathology testing centers to watch the virtual microscopy section of
the test being taken. As I entered the secure area, the first thing you notice
after passing thru the reception area is 70 numbered cubicles each with a
nice desk, microscope, computer and large monitor. And each one
of those cubicles was filled with a doctor taking an examination to
be board certified. It was very impressive for me to watch 65-70 people all
using computers as their microscopes, and to realize my inventions have helped make that happen.
Our digital microscopy solutions are now being used in
the board certification process along side traditional optical microscopy.
It would be difficult to find a better validation of the technology. It
struck me that we finally have achieved one of our goals of starting Bacus Laboratories ,
dramatically improving the way microscopy is practiced in medicine.
We have worked years developing our scanning to produce professional
diagnostic high quality digital microscope slides, to develop viewers
that are fast and easy to use, and that can be integrated into other
software such as the custom testing software that the American Board of Pathology
has developed. And servers to distribute large collections of
slides to hundreds of students simultaneously, like we do daily at any one of the
many medical universities that now teach with virtual microscopy.
Virtual microscopy is here to stay, and we will continue to invent, innovate
and implement the solutions that will shape microscopy of the
Sunday - May 11, 2003
I have just been chillin' around the house this weekend, taking it easy and fixing little things. The storms moving through my area have been amazing, borderline scary! I had another large tree in my yard blown over by the wind, the second in just a couple of weeks. That took some time to clean up, I am hoping I can keep the rest of my trees.
Reflecting on the last two weeks, work has been very interesting, so much so that I haven't taken much personal time at all. It's been exciting, it seems like each day someone comes up with something new or an enhancement that allows new direction or vision. The new team is starting to leverage projects/products and mesh together. We have recently implemented software that is taking our slide scanning to new levels of speed and quality. I saw the BLISS last Thursday scan tissue micro array slides (TMA) faster than I have ever seen before, with outstanding image quality. It easily beats a threshold I have been looking to obtain for years. Time for a new threshold, and I have new ideas.
Saturday - February 22, 2003
I am just wrapping up a project I did in Java, and I am quite pleased with the results. My company has been getting more and more requests to have a virtual microscopy viewer for the Mac or Linux platforms, so we decided to port our single pane ActiveX viewer user interface to a Java applet. I usually work on Windows, but I figured for this project I would work on the Mac for a change of perspective and cross check with Linux, Solaris and Windows. Working on the Mac gave me a chance to evaluate the new OS X operating system, and it was a pleasant experience. If any PC looks the part of a computer microscope, it's the iMac.
A fun thing about this project is that I can show it off here. I am sure I will be the first person to embed a virtual microscope slide into a weblog...
Below is my new Java viewer displaying a microscope slide of a cross section of a mouse, the mouse is oriented with its back down and head to the left. You will notice there is a thumbnail in the upper left hand of the window, that can be used to see an overview of where your current field of view is, and it can be used for navigation, i.e. just click where you want to view, preferably inside the green outline if you wish to see the upper four objective magnifications. The main window can be scrolled around by the click-n-drag technique with the left mouse button. Just clicking the left mouse button without moving the mouse will center that position in the field of view. The right button on the mouse will display a pop up menu allowing magnification change amongst other options. If you need some more help you can obtain it here.
If you would like to see some more virtual microscope slides, click here.
Wednesday - February 19, 2003
I was awarded my 12th patent today, an event that is always special to an inventor.
This patent is for Virtual Microscopy, which is the science of digitizing microscope slides at diagnostic resolution and saving them to a data set that can later be displayed on a typical personal computer running software that emulates the operation of a microscope. Once a microscope slide is digitized, the common PC becomes the microscope. This is a topic of great interest to me, and I have most likely been inventing and implementing ways to do this longer than anyone else.