A modular, open-source, slide-scanning microscope for diagnostic applications in resource-constrained settings
In this paper we report the development of a cost-effective, modular, open source, and fully automated slide-scanning microscope, composed entirely of easily available off-the-shelf parts, and capable of bright field and fluorescence modes. The automated X-Y stage is composed of two low-cost micrometer stages coupled to stepper motors operated in open-loop mode. The microscope is composed of a low-cost CMOS sensor and low-cost board lenses placed in a 4f configuration. The system has approximately 1 micron resolution, limited by the f/# of available board lenses. The microscope is compact, measuring just 25×25×30 cm, and has an absolute positioning accuracy of ±1 μm in the X and Y directions. A Z-stage enables autofocusing and imaging over large fields of view even on non-planar samples, and custom software enables automatic determination of sample boundaries and image mosaicking. We demonstrate the utility of our device through imaging of fluorescent- and transmission-dye stained blood and fecal smears containing human and animal parasites, as well as several prepared tissue samples. These results demonstrate image quality comparable to high-end commercial microscopes at a cost of less than US$400 for a bright-field system, with an extra US$100 needed for the fluorescence module.