Developing a Low-cost, Modular, and Open Source In Vivo Imaging System

The goal of this project is to develop a modular, inexpensive (<$1000), open-source, multi-modal in vivo imaging system (IVIS). IVIS systems are used to perform 2D or 3D optical imaging of animals and are critical for a range of research areas including drug discovery, cancer biology, and physiological monitoring. However, commercially available IVIS systems are expensive (>$300k) and are typically limited in expandability or modularity. These instruments are typically accessible only in imaging core facilities at large universities, limiting use by researchers at PUIs, MSIs, smaller universities, and programs without these core facilities. This projects is geared toward democratizing this imaging capability by developing and sharing a modular imaging system which is orders of magnitude less expensive than the commercially available systems by leveraging consumer grade hardware, rapid prototyping approaches, and computational image processing.

Name of research group, project, or lab
HMC Biophotonics Lab
Why join this research group or lab?

As a member of the HMC Biophotonics Lab you will join a passionate group of budding researchers exploring the field of biophotonics and connecting your existing knowledge to generate new ideas. This project will help to create low-cost, compact, and reconfigurable optical microscopes which can be used for a variety of applications including laboratory imaging for diagnostics and for education.

Logistics Information:
Project categories
Biomedical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

This research is accessible to all academic levels and requires only some introductory physics and computer programming to start. The following skills are helpful but not required:

  • CS Coursework: CS5, CS60, CS70, CS144/MATH164
  • Engineering Coursework: E79; E85
  • Physics Coursework:¬†Ph51, Ph57c, Ph134, Ph151
  • Programming Experience: Python, Matlab, C

The most important qualifications are a curious and can-do attitude and the willingness to try, fail, and try again.

Time commitment
Fall - Part Time
Spring - Part Time
Summer - Full Time
Academic Credit
Paid Research
Number of openings
Techniques learned
  • Fundamental microscopy concepts
  • Fourier Optics
  • Computational microscopy
  • Computational imaging algorithms
Contact Information:
Josh Brake
Principal Investigator
Name of project director or principal investigator
Prof. Josh Brake
Email address of project director or principal investigator
2 sp. | 6 appl.
Hours per week
Fall - Part Time (+2)
Fall - Part TimeSpring - Part TimeSummer - Full Time
Project categories
Engineering (+3)
EngineeringBiomedical EngineeringMechanical EngineeringOptics