Project 1: The Mouse Brain Library Project 2: Internet Microscopy (iScope) Project 3: Neurocartographer and Segmentation of the MBL Project 4: The Neurogenetics Tool Box


















Principal Investigator/Program Director Williams,Robert W.

  Limitations and problems

What about the problems associated with Internet microscopy? One problem at present is that the effectiveness of virtual microscopy depends on the bandwidth of connections between our servers and our clients. Aim 4 is therefore hostage to the quality of Internet connections. We have partial control of this factor, and we will need to ensure that our streaming servers can handle the load of requests. But our clients will probably be scattered all over the world, and their Internet connections will often be woefully slow. Thus, we have to design robust interfaces for the iScope and for all other parts of this program. Clients will be able to do useful work even over a slow connectiona modem creaking along at less than 30 Kbps. This will be a challenge for the image-rich data types that we are providing, though we have used the MBL effectively over a 56 Kbps modem connection. The process is slow, but the initial steps permit the investigator to sort and search for just the right strain, mouse, slide, or section before actually downloading a 500 KB file. In the case of movies the solution has been relatively brutal compression, but in the case of image stacks that will be used for stereology and cell counts, the solution for those with a 56 Kbps modem will be a bit of patience, but still typically less than 5 minutes for a 1 MB through-focus series consisting of 30 planes spaced 1 µm apart. Rapid advances in digital communication and the spread of high-speed Internet connections will gradually (or perhaps abruptly) increase the usefulness of the iScope.

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