Live Analysis of Neural Stem Cells using FLIR/PGR camera with Altami Studio Software
I am an Associate Professor of an academic research lab at the University of California. Our lab carries out work on stem cells for differentiation to generate various neuronal cell types. In order to capture live images our lab uses an Olympus inverted microscope (IX70) connected to a FLIR Blackfly U3-23S6C 2.3 MP Color USB3.0 camera. The camera has a Sony IMX249 sensor to take both brightfield and fluorescence images. Unfortunately, the PGR software (Flycapture) is not very suited for microscopy. Therefore, we sought out alternate softwares for both acquisition as well as for image measurements which are critical for our work. Our research led us to Altami Studio by Altami Electronic solutions (Alelso). This software seemed best suited to our needs as it has been built for microscopy applications. We tested the software to assess its applicability and compatibility with our microscope and FLIR (Point Grey) camera.
The first thing we found was that upon installation the software easily recognized the camera which was a very good sign that the software is compatible with this series of cameras. This made our life very easy as there was no troubleshooting involved at all. Altami Studio not only detected basic camera options, it also easily identified the various compatible modes including 2X2 binned mode as well as Mode 0 and Mode 7 of the camera (see Image below).
Acquisition and Calibration
The software is very easy to use and our research team found the various acquisitions options to be self-explanatory and straightforward compared to the software that came with the camera from the Point Grey Research/FLIR. It can capture both still images as well as timelapse videos if required.
We were easily able to setup the various calibration files for the various camera objectives using a micrometer and the various modes for the camera as can be seen in the image above. Using this, we could easily apply the calibration to the individual images during or following acquisition. This was very useful for both measurements between points and to apply scalebars to the images (see image below).
Below are some example images of neural stem cell colonies taken with the Altami Studio software. The wide dynamic range of the camera coupled with the matched compatibility allows us to capture clear brightfield images and matched fluorescence images of the cells in culture from the camera.
The above images were taken using the auto mode of all the setting. These shows how well the software can adapt to the different light levels coming into the camera.
The software also allows the users to save the files in several different formats including TIFF, BMP, JPEG as well as Altami native format.
Filters and Panorama
One of the other features which is very useful for microscopy applications is the ability to apply various filters to the images as needed. The software comes with a number of these filters pre-installed in the software. Depending on the type of camera, one can use Color or Gray Scale Transformations. There is also an ability to generate user defined filters which we have not tested but will be interesting to see how that works. The Scalebar option allows to edit the fonts as well as size of the scale bar.
Finally, one of the options that is very useful for microscopy is the ability to stich together images taken from the various fields of view to generate a larger image of the entire field. This can be done using the Panorama option under Tools. This is where the software really excels. Below is an example of one such image we were able to easily capture within minutes from the individual panels on the left of the image. The option tools includes Multi-Focus which will be useful for 3D structures.
With our use so far with the software, we are amazed on how well it interacts with our 3rd party camera. The software is a joy to use and allows for smooth acquisition of microscopy images in a research lab setting. We appreciate the generation of this software and do highly recommend it to any user without any reservations. We hope the company continues to further develop the software and provide continued support.