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.


Telepresence microscopy has been used on several occasions to operate sophisticated high-voltage electron microscopes (see Zaluzec, 1995, at Argonne National Laboratory; Parvin et al., 1995, at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory; Fan and Ellisman, 1993, 1995, at the University of California San Diego). These efforts have been motivated by the desire to make these extremely powerful microscopes more available to the research community.
One recent experiment in telepresence microscopy over the Internet involved teaching students at Lehigh University how to use a transmission electron microscope situated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Voelkl et al. 1997). Although the microscopes involved are very different, the Oak Ridge project and our own share many common aspects. Oak Ridge used a commercial program (Timbuktu Pro) to mirror on client computers at Lehigh in Pennsylvania, at Oak Ridge. This is essentially the same system we have used to set up a laboratory camera that images our microscopy laboratory at UT Memphis (see <>). ACK FIX THAT Parallel video and audio communication between the two sites was maintained using a Connectix digital camera and CU-SeeMe software. In other words, two parallel video links established between the sites to allow an instructor to explain the use of the electron microscope while simultaneously showing images generated by the microscope.
As pointed out by Voelkl and colleagues, the main drawback in the Oak Ridge experiment was the limited bandwidth of the Internet. An uncompressed 256 x 256 pixel, 8-bit monochrome video running at 30 fps requires a bandwidth of more than 1 Mbps, or at least 20 times faster than a 56 Kbps modem. Fast JPEG compression can achieve at least a 5-fold reduction, and the use of more sophisticated compression methods that compress across video frames (temporal compression) can result in an even greater savings of ???. For our purposes, we do not expect bandwidth to be a major problem. The point of doing of real-time streaming video is to navigate through the image and find the right spot for detailed analysis. One the point of interest has been located, a slow but high-quality video feed is far more important than during the first stage. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE SLOW BUT HIGH-QUALITY? THIS CAN"T BE WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY/ In our opinion, the ideal system for real-time video microscopy will combine a clever interface with the ability to rapidly switch between resolution modes.

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