Digital microscope revolutionizes climate research

Leading palynologists around the world are testing a new digital microscope developed at Massey University in New Zealand.

A digital microscope developed at Massey University called Classifynder helps in climate and environmental studies
A digital microscope developed at Massey University called Classifynder helps in climate and environmental studies

Leading palynologists around the world are testing a newdigital microscope developed at Massey University in New Zealand.

Palynology is the science of studying pollen and other organic microfossils to gain insight into historical land use,climate change, or vegetation.

Called the Classifynder, the microscope was developed by a team at the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology led by Emeritus Professor Bob Hodgson.

It will alleviate drudgery for palynologists who, after weeks in the field, spend more weeks looking down a microscope to count and identify the tiny grains they had collected.

With the Classifynder, a low-resolution stage locates all grains on the slide so that a high-resolution stage can grab images of each grain across nine focal depths. Fluff and detritus can be recognized and ignored, leaving the palynologist to concentrate on the grains themselves.

Eight prototype machines have been delivered to palynologists around the world.

-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor,Vision Systems Design

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