The Virtual Microscope

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Department of Computer Science

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The Johns Hopkins University
The Department of Pathology
Johns Hopkins Medical Institions

The Virtual Microscope is a client-server system designed to provide a realistic digital emulation of a high power light microscope. The client is an image browser that runs on a user's PC or workstation. The server is responsible for storing, retrieving, processing, and serving the microscope image data and runs on a high performance machine. The raw data for such a system can be captured by digitally scanning collections of full microscope slides under high power. The system is required to provide interactive response times for the standard behavior of a physical microscope. These behaviors include continuously moving the stage and changing magnification and focus. In addition, a software solution can enable new modes of behavior that cannot be achieved with a physical microscope, such as simultaneous viewing and manipulation of one slide by multiple users. The Virtual Microscope is an example of a broader class of applications that manipulate large multi-dimensional datasets. The main difficulty in providing the functionality of the Virtual Microscope is the storage and delivery of the extremely large quantities of data required to allow interactive browsing of a large collection of slides.

Technical Team

Joel Saltz, M.D., Ph.D., Alan Sussman, Ph.D., Bob Miller, M.D., Angelo Demarzo, M.D., Ph.D.,
Mark Silberman M.D., Asmara Afework, Mike Beynon, Renato Ferreira, and Anthony Wiegering


Related Information:

  • DEMO the Virtual Microscope
  • Publication List
  • Active Data Repository Accelerates Access
    to Large Data Sets
    enVision,  Volume 14, Number 2, April - June 1998

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Last Updated:  10/20/99