Focus Stacking for Teaching and Publication in Plant Sciences
This project aims to design a teaching tool and curriculum to teach focus stacked photography to secondary school children and undergraduates. This project follows on from Biomaker Challenge project Macrophotography of fern gametophytes using a DIY focus stacking system
It has only recently become possible to take photographs of tiny plant specimens and have the full subject in focus. The technology is called focus stacking or deep focus photography. In this technique a large number of photographs are taken, while gradually moving the camera towards the subject. Each photograph has only some small areas in focus, and these focused areas are then cut out and merged together to make one, completely focused, image.
This technology is important for phenotyping in synthetic biology using Marchantia. It is also needed in very many other areas of biology research where the subject is very tiny. For example, in trichome research in Arabidopsis.
We aim to advance the use of deep focus photography in two ways:
- Develop a £100 teaching tool that can be used to teach the principles of deep focus photography, and a curriculum to accompany it.
- Demonstrate and document how to convert the system so that it can take publishable photographs of the sort that can appear on the front cover of a journal, to be built for under £4000. Our system will accommodate subjects from 0.25mm to 1cm tall and beyond.
Dr Jennifer Deegan,
Visitor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Dr Christopher Whitewoods,
Postdoctoral researcher, Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre
Dr Aleksandr Gavrin,
Research Associate, Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge
Mr Matthew Couchman,
Support Specialist, Computational and Systems Biology, John Innes Centre
Dr Richard Mortier,
University Lecturer, Computer Lab, University of Cambridge
Mr Tim Deegan,
External collaborator in the computing industry
This project is due to report in 2018.