Imaging Robotics for Macro / Micro / Nano Subjects

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

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Craig Gerard
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Imaging Robotics for Macro / Micro / Nano Subjects

Post by Craig Gerard »

Small World Explorations

Macro, Micro, Nano Imaging Robotics and GigaPan.

This was brought to my attention:

http://smallworld.gigapan.org/

http://www.gigamacro.com/gigapixel_macr ... nology.php

http://www.gigamacro.com/images/rig_ver1e.jpg
ouch! that's an MPE-65mm on a bellows.

http://www.gigamacro.com/images/photogr ... _large.jpg

.................................................

http://www.gigapan.org/

http://www.fourchambers.org/

*note: be constructive, they are watching 8)


Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

Bob^3
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Post by Bob^3 »

Very interesting, Craig! Thanks for posting separate links to all the pertinent technical details. I’m sure they ARE watching. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the concepts for this system came from PMN. The mechanical parts of my final stack and stitch setup will be similar to this, except that I want the camera axis to be horizontal instead of vertical for ease of using the viewfinder, Live View and operating the camera controls. My other concerns with this implementation are:

As you allude to, the MP-E 65 on a bellows apparently to reach higher magnifications, which may be out of the lens’ design range, and result in diffraction issues. Of course, it might be possible to hack a solution for this, to adapt another lens.

The use of CombineZM for focus stacking, which I believe is still limited to 8-bit images. It would be nice if they also offered an option for ZS and HF, don’t know if this is a software limitation?

The pure X-Y translation movement, with no telecentric optics or rotation around the entrance pupil, with the mosaic to be stitched with PTGui. I’ve used PTGui for years and in general it is very good at automatically finding control points with properly captured images. I have no doubt this can work well on relatively flat subjects that have enough high-contrast detail for the sw to find control points. However for subjects with any depth and/or lower detail, I think PTGui will be very challenged to perform an automatic stitch. In the worst cases, with significant parallax errors, it may take many hours of setting and optimizing manual control points to get a usable image--- and some images may never stitch perfectly.

The most interesting part of the system I saw is the nice looking GUI screen for the control sw. If they provided the sw as a separate purchase along with the arduino controllers in a generic configurable form that could be interfaced to standard stepper motor drives (through step, direction inputs), I might be interested.
Bob in Orange County, CA

elf
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Post by elf »

I suspect that most of the stacking setups shown in this forum could also do high magnification panoramas. You just need to be able to move the subject on X, Y, and Z axes. A gigapixel image isn't any harder to do than a 30 megapixel image, there's just more opportunities for failure :)

Depending on how accurate the stepper motors are, PT Gui, and other panorama stitchers based on PT Tools, can consume the coordinates directly. There should be no need to define control points. I'm more curious about the no-parallax claim. Perhaps a technique like Zerene Stacker uses for creating 3D images is used.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

elf wrote: I'm more curious about the no-parallax claim.
In a quick scan, I only found "parallax" on one of the pages linked above. Unclear what they mean. But really, killing parallax in an XYZ shift system is not a hard problem. That's what telecentric optics are for. If they haven't incorporated those yet, I expect they will later. There's only so much you can do with software if the optics introduce parallax.

The challenging part, IMO, will be defining an appropriate market and engineering a system that can sell into it cost effectively. The GigaPan folks have done that very well with their Epic and Epic Pro robotic camera controllers. But those are inexpensive devices ($350 and $900) that work with existing cameras, lenses, and lighting. They're kind of analogous to the StackShot rail. A full XYZ system is more analogous to products sold by Synchroscopy (for microscopes with motorized focus and stage positioning) and by Visionary Digital (for traditional cameras).

It'll be interesting to see where this goes.

--Rik

PaulFurman
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Post by PaulFurman »

I would think researchers are the market. Really, there is a lot to be learned studying stacked macros. See my thread here about nanotechnology application ideas.

bklein
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Post by bklein »

The Gigapan guys were at the San Mateo MakerFaire this May. I talked with a guy there a bit. He was unaware of our forum.
Another guy there had a cheap, rc servo based slide manipulator to map DNA samples... I think I have a couple short video clips.

bklein
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Post by bklein »

Is it possible to upload AVI's with our messages or how would I post them?

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

bklein wrote:Is it possible to upload AVI's with our messages or how would I post them?
Photomacrography.net is not set up to either host videos or to display them inline. A common solution is to push them up to YouTube and post a link here using the [url] tag.

--Rik

fourchambers
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Post by fourchambers »

Hi Folks,

Looks like there has been some discussion about the work we've been doing with the GigaPan imaging for macro / micro applications. Actually, I'm embarrassed to say that we haven't been watching until just recently after a very nice phone conversation with Rik. Thanks Rik!

I've finally just signed up here at PMN and am really impressed with the discussion, work, and information here. Really amazing and I can't believe that we haven't been making good use of the info on the site let alone participate in discussions and contribute! Looking at some of the discussions and posts, I'm seeing so many questions that we could've had answered a long time ago. Anyway...great to be here now!

So to clarify a few questions about the work that we are doing with the robotic rig and system for capturing gigapixel images of macro / micro subjects...

First off, let me say that we are doing our best to make this technology as open as possible and share our information as well as collaborate with others as much as feasibly possible given the hours in each day. So please feel free to email us, call us, call us out on any claims, or suggest anything you feel would be a better solution.

We are currently looking at making various aspects of the technology open source such as the arduino programming and capture / controller software. But need to check on licensing issues with a few parts of the software.

Rik...most of the images on the site currently were taken before we made any software or hardware adjustments for parallax. Will be posting more soon with the new rig and will be looking at implementing the telecentric lenses you mentioned.

We also currently have an open invitation for beta test sites. Carnegie Museum of Natural History is our primary beta site and if you have applications would benefit from the system, we can look at the possibility of making a unit available for testing.

Thanks!
Gene Cooper

FYI...more info was recently posted at one of our sites...http://www.smallworldexplorations.com/

Craig Gerard
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Post by Craig Gerard »

Gene,

Watching the ongoing development with interest.

Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Gene, welcome aboard! :D That was a fun conversation and I'll be watching with great interest to see how your system evolves.

--Rik

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