Innovative Revolve Reduces Microscope Cost While Saving Valuable Lab Space

Machined prototypes and production components were manufactured with Cool Idea Award grant

Echo Laboratories, based in San Diego, designs and develops microscopes for life sciences professionals. The firm is led by CEO and Founder Eugene Cho, who has 15 years of experience in microscopy. The company’s cornerstone product, Revolve, combines the functionality of both upright and inverted microscopes, setting a new precedent in microscope usability and design. It is due this innovative hybrid design that the developers of Revolve were presented with a Protolabs Cool Idea Award.

In life sciences research, two types of microscopes are used—upright (for viewing glass slides) and inverted (for live samples in dishes). As a result, industry sources estimate that nearly 75 percent of labs today own both. Revolve transforms between these two configurations, eliminating the need to purchase two separate instruments. This frees up valuable lab space and offers cost savings, given that the Revolve costs about the same price as a traditional, research-grade microscope.

This versatile microscope is a game-changer for scientists.

Developers have also replaced traditional microscope eyepieces with an iPad, providing users with a high-resolution view through its retina display. In addition, the tablet’s touchscreen interface simplifies taking images, which can then be shared on cloud-based services such as Dropbox.

“This versatile microscope is a game-changer for scientists,” says Protolabs founder Larry Lukis. “Our Cool Idea Award program seeks out innovation and this product hits the mark. It truly reimagines and re-invents the look, the feel, the function of traditional microscopes.”


“The high-precision parts from Protolabs helped with overall accuracy and image quality in key major sub-assemblies of the Revolve.”

Protolabs’ Cool Idea Award grant provided machined aluminum parts for both the prototyping phase and low-volume production runs to fulfill early pre-orders for the product. Those parts included components for the microscope’s XY specimen stage, a motorized LED fluorescence module and a high-precision focus drive.

Revolve is now on the market and is being used by researchers at universities, biotechnology, and pharma companies, according to Eugene Cho, CEO and founder of Echo Laboratories. “The high-precision parts from Protolabs helped with overall accuracy and image quality in key major sub-assemblies of the Revolve,” says Cho. “These parts were essential in making our product a reality.”

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