Check here often for the latest news about our virtual projects.
Virtual Projects Latest News
Sample Download Bug And Workaround
The latest version of Virtual Microscope has an incompatibility with some recent operating systems that is resulting in some users not seeing any available samples to download in their 'Get More Specimens' section. Read about the workaround if you are having this problem.
NASA and St. Leo Post COGS Website
NASA and Saint Leo University have posted their COGS Website to support teaching and learning with the Virtual Microscope. The site includes lesson plans by teachers who have used our software in the classroom, a discussion forum for those teachers, and more. The project is run by our collaborator, Dr. Laura Blasi, a professor of education at St. Leo. Check it out!
Virtual Microscope Wins Award
The Virtual Microscope has been awarded a NASA Software Award by Michael Griffin, the NASA Administrator. This award recognizes significant technical contributions to NASA. Congratulations to the Virtual Microscope team!
Software Update Simplifies Addition of Samples
The highlight of the version 5.3.5 release is a split-pane loading screen showing both the previously downloaded samples and the samples available for download over the internet from our server. Users can download and install new samples, ready for viewing, with one click within the Virtual Lab software. This dramatically simplifies the task which previously generated the most help requests. Visit our downloads page to get the new release!
New Samples: EM and EDS
Ten new EM samples and three samples with EDS data have been added to our data page. Among the new samples are a Stromatolite and Gecko foot as well as Costa Rican sand. Visit the data page and check them out.
Version 5 Released
We recently released Version 5 of our Virtual Microscope application. This release includes the ability to view spectra and X-ray maps from an Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) detector in certain samples. As mentioned above, there are three new samples with EDS data to try in the new software. Please download Version 5 and try it out.
In addition, we have updated all of our samples to conform to the new specimen file format (old samples are still backwards compatible with the new version).
Virtual Lab in the Journal Science
You can view a PDF of the page here.
Discussion Forum Added
We have added a Discussion Forum to the site as a home base for addressing issues such as installation problems, performance questions, feature requests, and bug submissions.
ITG Releases New Beta, version 2.0b
We are proud to release a new beta of our virtual instrument code. This version integrates the previously separated instruments into one application that changes function based on the specimen. It also includes faster rendering, specimen annotation tools, and more. You can get your own copy of the application on our downloads page.
ITG Virtual Projects Site Launched
We have just launched an entirely new site to house our growing collection of datasets, code, fileformat info, help animations, and other things related to our virtual microscopy project. In addition to what you see here today, we intend to add a lot in the near future, including a bulletin board for discussion about the virtual lab, automated specimen generation tools for submitting your tiled data into our specimen repository, etc. Let us know if you have suggestions.
Collaborators and Users
In the short time our software has been available, we have initiated a number of collaborations with various groups, including secondary school teachers, educational researchers, national science centers, and more. What follows is an abbreviated list of those relationships.
If you are interested in working with us, please let us know.
- NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) on Directed Assembly of Nanostructures at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Paul Braun (UIUC) & Chang Y. Ryu, pbraun [at] uiuc.edu, ryuc [at] rpi.edu. We're working with this NSF center to develop a Nanoscope to teach children about nanotechnology.
- Central Queensland University, Austrailia, John Hunt, j.hunt [at] cqu.edu.au. We are working with Prof. Hunt to establish a second site for automated data collection at the University of Queenland's Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, where they have a Philips XL30 ESEM.
- Nanyang Technological University, Tim White, tjwhite [at] ntu.edu.sg. Tim is using our training videos for second year materials science teachers at Nanyang Technological University.
- University of Illinois, Dept. of Cell & Structural Biology, Ben Williams, bdwillms [at] uiuc.edu. We're working with Prof. Williams to produce detailed annotations of a variety of histology specimens from our light microscope.
- NSF Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manuacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS) at UIUC, Marty Atwater, atwater [at] uiuc.edu. We are working with this NSF center to produce teaching modules using the virtual instruments that highlight topics of importance to the center's faculty.
- University of Central Florida, Dept. of Education, Laura Blasi, lblasi [at] mail.ucf.edu. Dr. Blasi is working with public schools to evaluate the effectiveness of the Virtual Laboratory.
- Lehigh University, Center for Advanced Materials and Technology, Andrea Harmer, ajw1 [at] lehigh.edu. We are working with Lehigh as another data acquisition site--in this case to tile Columbia Shuttle debris.
- NASA Kennedy Space Center, Berta Alfonso, Berta.A.Alfonso [at] nasa.gov. Alfonso is the project leader for the Virtual Laboratory project at NASA and is integrally involved in all apsects of the project.
- NASA Learning Technologies , Tom Gaskins, tom [at] tomgaskins.com. Tom is the project lead for the Virtual Laboratory at NASA Learning Technologies, and is particularly interested in long-term data viability and and Virtual Lab software development.
Educational Outreach and Evaluation
NASA has created teacher training activities, lesson activities, and an educational evaluation of the effectiveness of the Virtual Laboratory. This work, specific to our Virtual Microscope, has been conducted by Dr. Laura Blasi from the University of Central Florida.
A list of presentations that featured or highlighted our virtual instrumentation work.
- The Virtual Laboratory, 2005 Microscopy and Microanalysis Conference, Hawaii, August, 2005 (pending). Glenn Fried and Berta Alfonso.
- Bugscope: Current and Future Directions, Ben Grosser, Glenn Fried, et al, ITG Forum, 2/1/2005.
- Virtual Scanning Electron Microscope: Using a $500,000 Microscope for Free, Glenn Fried, ITG Forum, 11/18/2003.