Introduction to ioLight portable microscopes

Hello, I am Andrew Monk, CEO of ioLight. Our portable microscopes are simple, robust and pocket-sized. They display images on the screen of any mobile phone and share them with colleagues anywhere. They are the only portable microscopes that can share images of cells. They go wherever you go.
Introduction to ioLight portable microscopes
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ioLight is a UK startup based in Southampton. We have been selling portable microscopes to environmental scientists since 2016. Our microscopes have been to The Arctic, Antarctica, The Amazon and Mount Everest.

Microscopy is the fundamental tool for biology, veterinary science, climate change and many other disciplines. In the past, researchers have had to take samples back to their labs for observation. This is a slow process, and you can't review your sampling strategy. It is difficult to get good images of fresh samples before they deteriorate in transit, and impossible to return samples to where they belong.

Our fastest-growing application is the identification of Harmful Algal Blooms ( HABs). These potentially toxic blooms look very similar to beneficial algae. Only a microscope will tell the difference, but it usually takes five days or more to get a lab result. ioLight microscopes use AI image recognition to identify dangerous cyanobacteria on the beach in a couple of minutes. This protects public health and the businesses that rely on safe water. ioLight microscopes are so simple that diagnosis can be made by citizen scientists with just 30 minutes of training, delivering 94% accuracy.

You can learn more about our work at iolight.co.uk or contact me through WildHub.

ioLight portable field microscope in Antarctica
Dr Alia Khan, WWU, with ioLight microscope on Deception Island, Antarctica (Courtesy Dr Alia Khan) 

 

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Go to the profile of Grace Alawa
25 days ago

Andrew, welcome. I'm happy to hear about the ioLight, hoping that someday we get to use them here in Africa. I'm wondering if you have any orders from scientists here in Africa?

Go to the profile of Andrew Monk
24 days ago

Hello @Grace Alawa and thank you for your comment. We submitted a joint project for COVID detection with Kenya Medical Research Institute and Oxford University and The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust has used our products for several years. We did a veterinary trial in Uganda and African Parks also has one of our microscopes. We would like to do more in Africa. The remoteness of some locations and limited budgets make ioLight a great research tool. Our users particularly like the battery power for areas where the mains supply is unreliable and the good wireless networks make it easy to share data.

Go to the profile of Grace Alawa
24 days ago

Thank you Andrew, I agree with you about ioLight being a great research tool. And yes, I'm sure you can do much more in Africa.

Go to the profile of Thirza Loffeld
20 days ago

Hi Andrew, a warm welcome to WildHub! How did you find out about our community if I may ask?

Would be great to learn more about your own background also. Thanks

Go to the profile of Andrew Monk
20 days ago

Hi @Thirza Loffeld thank you for your welcome. I met @Adam Barlow through a mutual friend, and Adam suggested that I look at WilldHub. Thank you, Adam.

I have a Masters degree in Physics from Oxford University. I was told to give up biology at school (despite being top of the year) because Physicists need Chemistry, not Biology. That was the worst advice I ever had!! Richard and I founded ioLight in 2014, and I am very much enjoying the Biology I should have done 40 years ago!

We passionately believe that biologists, especially ecologists, need a good quality microscope in their pockets. Samples always deteriorate on the way back to the lab, and often, you cannot remove them from the site. Our microscope images your samples on your phone so you can share them instantly, just like any other photo. 

Happy to demonstrate how to fit a microscope in your pocket if anyone is interested.

Andrew