Imaging ONEWORLD - 'Smart Microscopy for Everyone: the OpenFlexure Microscope' - Dr Richard Bowman

Scientific Organisers: Stefanie Reichelt, Alex Sossick, Nick Barry, Alessandro Esposito and Kirti Prakash

The meeting will begin at 1pm BST.

As part of the 'Imaging ONEWORLD' series, the focus of these lectures is on microscopy and image analysis methods and how to apply these to your research. Almost all aspects of imaging such as sample preparation, labelling strategies, experimental workflows, ‘how-to’ image and analyse, as well as facilitating collaborations and inspiring new scientific ideas will be covered. Speakers will be available for questions and answers. The organisers, CRUK CI core facility staff, Gurdon Institute, MRC-LMB, MRC Cancer Unit and NPL will be able to continue the discussion and provide advice on your imaging projects.


  • Richard Bowman

    University of Bath 

    Dr Richard Bowman is a Royal Society URF and Proleptic Reader at the University of Bath, who works on lab automation, microscopy, and open source hardware.  He has led the OpenFlexure project over the last 6 years, from Friday-afternoon prototype to a well tested design that’s been replicated hundreds of times and is under evaluation for malaria diagnostics in Tanzania. He is passionate about the benefits that smarter equipment can bring to scientific research, particularly when it is coupled with researchers who are able to automate it.  He hopes that the hardware and software innovations that make the OpenFlexure microscope a useful research tool will “trickle up” to more expensive and conventional projects, as we move towards a more open and interconnected ecosystem of scientific instruments in our labs.

Speaker's Abstract

The OpenFlexure Microscope has been replicated hundreds of times around the world, from African makerspaces to superresolution microscopy labs.  Its main offering to the scientific community is a high performance flexure stage for precise XYZ motion that can be almost entirely 3D printed, but we have since added many optical, mechanical, and software features to make it a versatile instrument in its own right.  In this talk we’ll cover what is possible using our frugal instrument, and take a tour around the increasingly broad community that has grown up around it.  This includes our detailed calibration of the microscope’s optics and mechanics, as well as recent developments towards error correcting “smart” microscopy.  The microscope is used in applications from malaria research through to education in schools, and we will highlight several projects that make use of it.  Some of the most exciting developments have come from integrating the OpenFlexure Microscope with other projects – including UC2 (YouSeeToo) and  As well as mentioning what is possible by combining projects together, we will discuss how we are using Internet of Things technologies to make it easier to link projects together across programming languages, operating systems, and hardware architectures.