iPad app helps optical tweezers

March 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

Optics researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Glasgow have developed an iPad application for accurate, easy and intuitive use of optical tweezers.

Optical tweezers are used to manipulate tiny particles through the use of highly focused laser beams and are at the heart of much molecular biology. The team of researchers overcame the limitations of computer mouse and joy-stick controlled systems by designing of an iPad app to make it much easier to manipulate multiple particles in more directions.

The new multi-touch-based application allows researchers a clear representative 3D view of particle systems and offers a range of techniques, like pinching the screen or tilting the iPad, for moving single and multi-particles left and right, up and down, and to rotate them.

Due to the iPad’s wireless capability, the app will also help with regards laser safety and avoiding experiment contamination.

“Our iPad-based interface allows intuitive control of a holographic optical tweezers system using a dedicated application on the iPad and a modified version of our tweezers’ control software running on a host PC,” said the researchers in their paper published today. “The interface is responsive and easy to use, so even inexperienced users can trap particles, move them around and translate the microscope stage.”

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