Microscope ‘Game-Changer’ Garners Cool Idea! Award

The developers of a hybrid microscope — called the Revolve — which merges two microscopes into one, and replaces conventional eyepieces with an iPad, have been presented with the latest Proto Labs 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. The Revolve, developed by San Diego-based Echo Laboratories, is a hybrid microscope that 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.

Developers have also replaced traditional microscope eyepieces with an iPad, providing users with a high-resolution view through its retina display.

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

Proto Labs’ 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.

The Revolve officially went on the market this month, and is being used by researchers at universities, biotechnology and pharma companies, according to Eugene Cho, CEO and founder of Echo Laboratories.

If you have an innovative concept that could capture the next Cool Idea! Award, apply today.

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