I just got back from attending the 2013 ASCB meeting. I try to go every year as most of the microscopy vendors are there, so it’s a great place to see new products and network. I mostly didn’t go to the scientific talks, though there was one great talk by Eric Betzig on his latest developments on Bessel beam light sheet microscopy. He now has systems that can record a full volume in under a second and can image at high frame rates for hours with minimal phototoxicity. His results so outshone what you can do with commercial microscopes that I and several other microscopists found it thoroughly depressing.
On the vendor floor, there wasn’t any single new amazing product, but there were some nice developments. There was also a lot of consolidation evident in the microscopy world: Andor, which recently purchased Spectral Applied Research and Apogee Imaging Systems, is itself being acquired by Oxford Instruments, and Prairie Technologies has been acquired by Bruker. Here are some of the interesting things I saw:
- Epi Technology – a startup making a reversed filter cube allowing you to image your epi-illumination source through the eyepieces. Useful for finding and removing dirt.
- Datacolor is releasing a system for color calibration of transmitted light images. It uses a slide with known reference colors on it to allow putting your transmitted light images into a known color space using their own software. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to plug in to any existing microscopy software.
- Life Technologies has released a new DMEM formulation that reduces media fluorescence by about 9-fold. It should be very nice for live cell imaging.
- There were a number of companies showing off microfluidic systems for cell culture and imaging. Ebers, microfluidic ChipShop, and SynVivo were three that I talked to.
- Nikon was showing off their new range of laser accessories, including a Mosaic-type micro-mirror system for patterned illumination, dual-arm TIRF, and a galvo scanning system for photobleaching.
- Spectral Applied Research, recently acquired by Andor, which in turn is being acquired by Oxford Instruments, was showing off its all-in-one spinning disk, TIRF, and STORM system. It was quite nice looking but I can’t find any information about it on their website.
- Bruker was showing off the swept-field confocal, formerly from Prairie technology. They now have it working for spectral detection, acquiring 16 wavelengths simultaneously at each point.