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Practical, Powerful, and Portable: High resolution 2D imaging and 3D modeling using the Macropod technology

Department of Biology








Visual observations are a fundamental aspect to the scientific process, and modern scientists in many fields rely on high-resolution two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) digital imaging for research. This is especially true for scientists studying micrometer- to millimeter-scale objects (e.g., insects, microfossils, thin sections). However, at such minute scales, conventional microscope systems have resolution and depth-of-field limitations making clear observations difficult to attain. More advanced imaging systems, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-computed tomography (μCT), can accommodate those limitations, but require many hours of specialized training to operate and are difficult and expensive to maintain. For example, various μCT scanners on UW campus have at various times been inoperable for long periods of time, which has created significant backlogs and research delays. We are requesting funding to purchase the Macropod Pro 3D, Micro Kit, and Petrographic, which is a more economical and reliable alternative to SEM and μCT systems. This photomacrography and photogrammetry system was designed to automatically capture and create high-resolution, focus stacked, color 2D images and 3D models of micrometer- to millimeter-scale objects, slides, and thin sections. It is easy to set up and requires minimal maintenance and training to operate. The Macropod is compact and portable, which will allow users to capture quality images at other institutions that may lack sufficient imaging setups. Users in the natural sciences at UW will benefit from using this system by saving valuable time, effort, and money while concurrently producing abundant quality images and models for research.


Users can email the Wilson Mantilla lab to schedule an appointment. Scheduling will be done using a shared calendar such as in Microsoft 365.

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Learn about the Student Technology Fee and the proposal process by attending a Workshop led by our staff and receive 1:1 support with your proposal.


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