“PUMA is an Open Source (GPL v3.0) 3D printed light microscope system designed for direct eye observations and ultra-portability with advanced options for digital imaging, measurements and computer control. The name PUMA is an acronym of some of its most important distinguishing features: [P]ortable, [U]pgradeable, [M]odular, [A]ffordable
As a medical Pathologist I use high quality optical microscopes routinely. I know what a great optical image they provide, how comfortable they are to look down and also how horrendously EXPENSIVE they are to buy and maintain putting them beyond reach of most people. I designed the PUMA scope to make such a high quality optical viewing microscopy experience available to people without such generous funding resources.
Most 3D printed open source microscopes I have seen appear to be either toys or low power inspection scopes and/or they are designed to be used as camera scopes with a web-cam / PiCam or smartphone. Many also seem to be novel re-inventions of the microscope that would seem unfamiliar to people used to operating a traditional laboratory bench top microscope - that doesn’t mean they are not useful in their own way of course.
PUMA is an open source 3D printed traditional-style direct vision microscope designed as a professional benchtop microscope of familiar design but made with inexpensive materials and 3D printing - and made truly portable for field work. Here are its main features:
- It can use professional quality standard microscope optics including high numerical aperture (NA) objectives - up to oil immersion with NA = 1.25 (e.g. 1000x total magnification). That is enough to see bacterial morphology, individual cell chromosomes and sub-chromosomal details (such as FISH signals and banding).
- It is truly portable (no mains, smartphone, PC or monitor required).
- It is a multi-modal scope with options for: bright field, fluorescence, dark ground, epi-illumination, polarisation and phase contrast.
- It has advanced options not usually found on even expensive lab research scopes such as an augmented reality heads-up display and a computer-controlled spatial light modulator for optical Fourier filtration.
- It is not restricted to using a camera, computer and screen for observations (although these may all be used, if desired).
- It is designed to be easily used by those already familiar with standard bench-top microscopes - PUMA does NOT seek to ‘re-invent’ the microscope.
- It is designed to be fully DIY for those who want to have the greatest cost savings - and only uses widely available standard parts. However, for those not interested in DIY, PUMA is also commercially available ready-made from OptArc.co.uk.”