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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.

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