Diagnosing biological specimens using real-time remote microscopy systems

  • 1386204_FaganL_24242.pdf (2.1 MB)
  • Monday, December 14, 2009
    Hall D, First Floor (Convention Center)
    Laura Fagan , Plant & Food Research, Lincoln, New Zealand
    John M. Kean , Ag Research, Christchurch, New Zealand
    Cor J. Vink , Biocontrol & Biosecurity, AgResearch, Christchurch, New Zealand
    Corina Till , Plant & Food Research, Lincoln, New Zealand
    A basic remote diagnostic microscopy system consists of a computer connected externally to a web server, a monitor and a microscope with digital camera attached. Together with suitable software, this allows biological specimens to be viewed and diagnosed by remote experts in real time. This offers many benefits for researchers and practitioners of conservation, pest management, biodiversity and biosecurity, such as savings in time and money, increased security of specimens since they do not need to be mailed, and rapid identification. It also enables remote training for future diagnosticians. The technologies for virtual research environments (VREs) are maturing rapidly, but many researchers are apprehensive about using them without a better understanding of the skills, hardware and software required to make remote real-time diagnostics an everyday collaborative activity. Therefore, we reviewed the web-based technologies currently available for remote microscopy, and conducted detailed tests of four systems: EVO, Mirial, WebEx and Nikon. Standardised tests were designed to measure the image resolution (sharpness), colour resolution and latency (time delay) implicit in each system. These, together with actual diagnostic challenges, were tested between research organisations connected to the Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN) within New Zealand, from New Zealand to Australia, and from New Zealand to Canada. Specific usability issues were identified for each of the four systems tested, and protocols were developed to allow ecologists to easily adopt appropriate real-time remote diagnostic microscopy systems.

    doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.45635

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