The WOSM (Warwick Open Source Microscope) is a super-stable physical platform and control interface for high resolution optical microscopy. The idea was to have a fresh look at optical microscope design, aiming to make something that was both as solid and as optically straightforward as we could, consistent with being able to work at or very close to the theoretical limit of optical resolution. We were also frustrated by current microscope control interfaces and wanted to take a fresh look at that as well.
Soon after we first started working on the designs in late 2009, we realised that they would be useful not just to us but to lots of other people too, and we decided to make them open source.
Design and development is taking place at the Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology.
At this stage you can't, but like many similar open source hardware projects we will provide documentation and source files so you can build your own.
The high stability makes WOSM a great base for the development of superresolution and single molecule microscopy. WOSM reference designs will make up the central core of the source repositories. The first reference design will be a TIRF microscope, with darkfield and laser tweezers projects to follow from that.
The source to be made available will include microscope hardware design files (CAD source, engineering drawings, 3D printer STL files), web based control electronics (schematics, gerber files, C-based source and flashable firmware binaries, HTML control source) and PC based image aquisition software (Micromanager based).
As this project progresses, documentation will reach a stage where non-specialist developers will be able to build their own. However I expect early adopters to have reasonable technical skills and ideally some experience in microscope dis/assembly. At every level this microscope is designed to be versitile and easy to modify. Modification and hacking the reference designs is positively encouraged. We will also encourage contributions to source documentation from bug reports/fixes to new projects.
Follow the Twitter feed @wosmic_org,