A new way of operating microscopes for live cell imaging

Inscoper Imaging Software is a turnkey hardware solution that completely revolutionizes the way fluorescence microscopes are controlled in live cell imaging.

Today, microscopes and their devices are connected to computers and controlled by acquisition software, such as Metamorph, Micro-manager, LAS-X (Leica), NIS (Nikon), Olympus Stream, and Zen (Zeiss). Installed on a PC, this software runs on the Windows operating system.

Inscoper’s fundamental new approach involves dissociating the two functionalities managed by the acquisition software:

1/User Interaction: to configure the acquisition sequence, receive the acquired images, and display and save them;

2/Device Control: to communicate with the different devices in the microscopy system, and run the acquisition sequence defined by the user.

This separation means the Inscoper User Interface is free from hardware constraints. So, regardless of the type of microscope, the Interface remains simple, easy to use and focused on user requirements rather than hardware issues.

Inscoper approach involves embedding the Device Control functionality in an electronics box. This dedicated box has been designed to communicate with devices in the same way as hardware to control them as quickly and reliably as possible. This solution eliminates all latency caused by the operating system and the multiple software drivers needed to communicate with the devices. To obtain the best microscope performance and the reliability, the key is not to run the acquisition sequence on the computer.

inscoper box connectors
inscoper automation leica interface

Compatible with all widefield and spinning disk confocal microscopes

The Inscoper Control & Image Acquisition Software can be used for Multi-Dimensional Acquisition (MDA) with all the widefield and spinning disk confocal microscopy systems on the market: Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Zeiss.

With all connector types, Inscoper can control any device (e.g. camera, illumination, stage) that you already own, or want to purchase. Within hours, Inscoper can implement all devices, from old releases to the very latest ones that have not yet been integrated by other conventional software.

In fact, even devices that have never been used for microscopy purposes can be integrated, regardless of the connector or communication protocol. This unique feature makes Inscoper the perfect tool for researchers or engineers developing new microscopy techniques.

Inscoper Imaging Software Interface Presentation

Ease-in-use, elegant, simple and intuitive Inscoper interface for microscopy control and image acquisition allows pleasant work and effective and constant results.

Retrofitting outdated microscopes

The Inscoper Control & Image Acquisition Software can obviously equip any new microscope.

However, researchers and microscopy facility managers do not always have the budget or the willingness to buy a complete new system. But they often have “old” microscopes that are no longer used.

Restoring an outdated microscope, making it easy to use and far faster compared with even a new commercial setup is certainly a viable option when its optics and main components are still in good working order. Like in other industries, we call this retrofitting. Users view the high-performance retrofitted microscope as they would a new one but it costs much less budget-wise.

retrofitting microscopes

See live cells on their own timescale

The Inscoper image acquisition solution enables researchers to operate their chosen fluorescence microscope at the highest speed its hardware can handle.

The direct consequence of having removed all software latency is a dramatic increase in the frame rate during image acquisition. A considerable amount of time is saved between each multidimensional acquisition configuration change: time-lapse, 2D position, wavelength, and/or Z-position.

Increasing the microscope frame rate means increasing its temporal resolution. This is a game changer for observing live moving cells in detail. Depending on the microscope and user choices, Inscoper can easily improve temporal resolution threefold (or more) compared with conventional microscopy acquisition and control software.

Observing rapid movement in any intracellular molecular complex is the most relevant application. Here are some examples provided by users:

As Inscoper can control any device with any sort of connection, it is possible to add microfluidic devices and configure them in the same user interface. Inscoper means they can be operated during the image acquisition sequence, like an additional dimension with its own parameters.


More data in less time

Some researchers require large amounts of sample images. They have to hold the microscope for several hours or more, to be sure they acquire enough data for study relevance or statistical validity.

Such long acquisitions can be costly in terms of both time and money. And sometimes access to a shared microscope can be limited due to high demand.

With the Inscoper control solution, it is possible to acquire the same amount of images in a third of the time. Its reliable design also means long-time acquisition with precious samples does not suddenly stop for any reason in the middle of the process.

In addition, Inscoper can generate about three times more images using the microscope in the same amount of time. One option is to repeat the same acquisition sequence with other samples, another is to add more dimensions within the same sequence, for example more points, Z stacks or colors.

The ability to obtain more data in less time is particularly relevant for the following applications:

  • cell screening on multi-well plates (e.g. 96 or 284 formats),
  • library generation, e.g. exotic marine samples.

Researchers wishing to image thick samples, such as Drosophila, can also benefit from the Inscoper solution. They simply have to equip their spinning disk confocal microscope.


Manufacturer challenges

Some microscopy devices have been specially designed by their manufacturers for high-speed operation. But using them with conventional microscopy software means this feature is almost impossible to implement because of the latency generated by both the Windows operating system and software driver. Please contact us if you’d like to integrate and test your device with our control solution. We just need the device’s datasheet or Software Development Kit (SDK), and a few hours to install it. Then you will be able to offer your customers a solution that can run your product at its maximum speed.

Some manufacturers engaged in other industries are keen to roll out their products on microscopy systems. We know how costly and time-consuming it can be to develop software drivers, and are aware that microscopes are much more complicated than most people think. We may also be able to help you, so feel free to contact us.