Focus your ioLight Microscope like a pro

How do you focus a microscope with no knobs?

In our new video, Andrew explains how to focus the Magnificent Mobile Microscope and get a great image in a couple of minutes.

Laboratory microscopes have expensive and elaborate focusing mechanisms and XY stages that make it easy for an expert to get a great image. However, these controls also make conventional microscopes expensive, big and difficult to use in the field. The ioLight microscope fits your pocket in terms of its size and its price. One of the ways we achieve this is by discarding the focus knobs and the XY stage, but how do you actually use a microscope like that?

This short video shows how easy it is to use the Magnificent Mobile Microscope even on a bench by the river.

ioLight meets Dutch and British Royal Families

It was an enormous privilege to meet members of the British and Dutch Royal Families the ioLight microscope with Their Majesties the King and Queen of The Netherlands and Their Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex at the Netherlands UK Innovation showcase yesterday as part of the Dutch State Visit to the UK. The conversation was really interesting and the royal party showed a strong understanding of how a laboratory grade pocket microscope could change the world. Prince Edward observed that our price was about the same as a pair of binoculars.

Huge thanks to the Royal Family for posting this wonderful video so quickly.

Other field microscopes just became obsolete

Fish expert, Bill Manci, Fisheries Technology Associates, Inc.

Fish expert Bill Manci tests ioLight microscope

Fish expert Bill Manci reviews the ioLight portable microscope

A new product has entered the aquaculture marketplace that, potentially, could revolutionize fish disease diagnostics and live feed identification in the field or tank-side.

As a longtime aquaculture consultant, I am very familiar with conventional approaches to collection and visual analysis of potentially diseased tissues, and viewing of microscopic live food organisms. In the past, samples were collected for later preparation and viewing in a laboratory. Opportunities to view samples at a microscopic level in the field simply did not exist. Clumsy and heavy microscopes are simply too large to be practical in the field, they require power to light the viewing stage, and are easily damaged.

A British company called ioLight has developed a new set of devices that make microscopic viewing in the field possible, and indeed very easy.

ioLight offers two field-capable microscopes that are compact and easy to carry into the field. Here’s the best part. These battery-powered units generate their own Wi-Fi signals that easily connect to your iOS (i.e., iPhone or iPad) or Android device for easy viewing of the magnified image.

There are two versions of the ioLight microscope—the so-called 1-mm and 2-mm units, which refer to the width of the field of view. The 1-mm unit offers resolution down to 1 µm, and the 2-mm version is used for larger target samples. In my case, I used the 2-mm unit, which provided excellent views of microscopic zooplankton such as daphnids and rotifers, as well as individual gill filaments and parasites that potentially inhabit those tissues.

The first thing that struck me when I held the unit was its look and feel. This is a substantial, high-quality instrument made with durable materials that will stand the test of time.

Folded for storage and in its cushiony waterproof neoprene case, the unit fit nicely in my hand (6.25” X 4” X 1.25”), and weighed less than 1 pound. The optics pivot and unfold from the base, and slide up or down by hand to produce a rough focus of the target image.

I then used the ioLight app that I downloaded to my iPhone to view the subject and achieve perfect fine focus. From the app, you can choose to light the subject from above, or below, or both. You also can activate a grid from the app to accurately measure the size of objects in your sample. I then easily snapped photos and videos and stored the images on my phone.

After the photos were captured on my phone, I was able to zoom in and out as with any other photo, and see additional details without pixelation. I was quite impressed with the photo quality, despite the small size of the optics—undoubtedly, a real breakthrough.

While I can envision a multitude of uses for these devices in a number of professions, anyone serious about aquaculture will want these new tools in their diagnostic and management inventory.

Without a doubt, the portability and ruggedness of these units and the high quality of the images are the innovations that truly wowed me. For me, this was one of those moments when you say to yourself, “How did I ever get along without this device?”

Interested in trying or buying one? As compared to much larger and “clunkier” conventional technologies, ioLight microscopes are a real bargain. The 2-mm general-purpose unit has a price tag of just $1,100, and the 1-mm cell-resolution unit costs $1,200, which includes the microscope and all shipping and taxes. Customers in the US must contact the distributor, AquaSolver, in southern California (760-518-8170). If you are not satisfied, you can return the unit for a refund within 30 days.

This is an every-day device for your every-day needs.

About Bill Manci

Bill Manci is the President of Fisheries Technology Associates where he specializes, since 1982, in fisheries management, characterization and evaluation of wild fisheries, and technical and economic feasibility analysis of fish farming and aquaculture facilities. Mr. Manci also specializes in fisheries industry and commercial fishing intelligence and statistics; wild fisheries and aquaculture investment due diligence; finfish and shellfish production technology, equipment, fish feeds, fish vaccines, and systems; development of integrated aquaponics systems; and aquaculture facility and production system design, management, and assessment. He manages a team of 28 technical professionals within the fisheries and aquaculture field. Mr. Manci has more than 42 years of experience, has published more than 300 articles, and writes an editorial column for Fish Farming News and contributes to other international publications. He also participated for six years in aquaculture and fisheries research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 1991, Mr Manci has been recognized as a Certified Fisheries Professional by the American Fisheries Society.

Fisheries Technology Associates, Inc., is a Fort Collins, Colorado (USA)-based aquaculture, aquaponics, and fisheries consulting firm. They may be reached at +1 970-225-0150 or

ioLight Pocket Microscope Fights Drug Resistance in Farm Animals

Mathematicians at Cambridge University have used images from an ioLight field microscope to spot intestinal parasites, reducing drug overuse and increasing farm profitability.


Equine strongyle eggs microscope ioLight

Fig 1. Image of equine parasitic worm eggs taken with the ioLight pocket microscope


Intestinal parasites are a growing problem in many animals including horses, cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens. These parasites cause illness and even death in infected animals and reduce the farmer’s productivity. Up until now the parasite worms were controlled by indiscriminate use of anti-parasitic drugs, treating all animals whether they were infected or not. Unfortunately, this has led to drug-resistant strains of parasite worms developing, which farmers and horse owners have no way of controlling. An infestation of one of these drug-resistant intestinal worms would have devastating consequences for farmers and horse owners.

The solution to this problem is to restrict the use of the anti-parasitic drugs so that only animals infected with harmful parasite worms are treated. In this way, only the harmful parasites are killed and other strains are allowed to live.

To treat only infected animals, farmers and horse owners need to perform a worm egg count. This test involves examining each animal’s faeces to see if the eggs of harmful parasitic worms are present in dangerous quantities. Today, this is done by sending samples off to a lab, where the sample is manually analysed using a lab microscope and the number of parasite eggs counted. ioLight has developed a pocket microscope which enables farmers and vets to do this in the field. This reduces the time taken to do the analysis so that the animals can be treated more rapidly and smaller doses of anti-parasitic drugs used.

Despite the ioLight field microscope making worm egg counts easier and more efficient, the vet or farmer still has to count the eggs manually by looking at the microscope images. This takes time, and is difficult unless you are an expert.

Margaret Duff of Cambridge University has produced proof-of-concept image analysis software using MATLAB to analyse the microscope images automatically and count parasite eggs. Margaret showed that using a combination of algorithms and machine learning, she was able to detect eggs correctly with approximately 85% success rate. This shows great potential to help vets and farmers increase productivity and win the fight against drug-resistant parasites.

Margaret’s work is a collaboration between The Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information and The Centre for Mathematical Imaging in Healthcare (both at Cambridge University),  The Mathworks LTD and Cancer Research UK. ioLight would like to thank Carola-Bibiane Schonlieb and Joana Grah of Cambridge University, Jasmina Lazic (Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh), Sylvain Sauvage (Mathworks) and Stefanie Reichelt (Cancer Research UK) for their support and supervision, without which this work would not have been possible.

The details of Margaret’s work can be read on her GitHub repository.

Fig 2. New Forest Equine Vets using an ioLight field microscope in a stable for worm egg counts

ioLight joins the Royal Veterinary College in CSI investigation

Royal Veterinary College calls ioLight for back up in CSI probe

ioLight has pleasure in inviting you to the Royal Institution, London, on Wednesday 11th October to see the Royal Veterinary College’s evening of Animal CSI: What, how, when?

pocket microscope

ioLight pocket microscope

The world renowned Royal Veterinary College will be using the ioLight microscope to help present the fascinating story of veterinary pathology.

Dive into the world of veterinary pathology for an evening of mystery and intrigue, including a live-streamed dissection from the Royal Veterinary College’s laboratory and hands-on experiments and activities. Please note that due to the graphic nature of dissection, this event is suggested for ages 16+.

ioLight’s Co-Founder Richard Williams will be there to demonstrate the microscope. We would like to thank The Royal Institution and the Royal Veterinary College for the opportunity to present our microscope at this wonderful event.

The ioLight portable microscope has a similar resolution to lab microscopes, but it folds to fit in a jacket pocket or vet’s bag. Beautiful 1 micron resolution images and HD videos appear on your tablet or phone for simple sharing to the evidence dossier. At last vets and CSI forensic agents can carry out their work in the field rather than waste time and risk contaminating evidence by taking it back to the lab. The microscope is also perfect for teaching and outreach because everybody sees the same image on the screen, which gets discussions going. The ioLight microscope is now compatible with iOS and Android devices, so it is ready to get to the truth anywhere.

Friends of ioLight can find full details and get a 30% discount on ticket prices using the discount code ROYALVETCOLLEGE at Eventbrite. We look forward to seeing you this Wednesday evening.


Win a pair of complimentary passes to New Scientist Live

Hopefully by now you know that ioLight is on stand 607 at the greatest festival of ideas in the known universe! New Scientist Live takes place from Thursday 28th September to Sunday 1st October at ExCel in London docklands.

But how do you get free tickets for New Scientist Live?

Simple! All you have to do is to identify the household object below. To make it even easier, we have given you two pictures. They are both taken on ioLight’s new 2mm field of view portable microscope, which we are launching at the show.

The ioLight microscope is the world’s first lab quality portable digital microscope that fits in your pocket. The high resolution 1mm version has a resolution of 1 micron, that’s enough to display animal and plant cells clearly on the screen of your tablet. The tablet display means that everyone sees the same picture, so it’s great for education and training, and you can share your images and videos in a couple of clicks. At last scientists, engineers, educators and vets can analyse samples anywhere, without going back to the lab.

The new 2mm version has a wider field of view, which is ideal for cell counting applications and makes it even easier to use.

See the new 2mm microscope at New Scientist Live.

Win free passes to New Scientist Live

Win Free tickets to New Scientist Live

What is this? Answers on ioLight’s Facebook page.

To enter, simply go to ioLight’s Facebook page and post your answer. Don’t forget to Like our page as well.

Not so easy perhaps?

If  you are struggling to identify the image, you can still book tickets at and use discount code EXHIBITOR10 to receive a 10% discount on any ticket.

We look forward to seeing you at New Scientist Live on stand 607.

Good luck!


New Forest Equine Vets use ioLight for worming at the stable

Vets use parasite testing at the yard to save money and protect horses

ioLight helps vets protect horses from parasites

New Forest Equine Vets use the ioLight microscope to diagnose worms in horses at the yard

New Forest Equine Vets are using the ioLight portable high resolution microscope to offer horse owners an on site worming service. Parasites like red worm and tapeworm are becoming increasingly resistant to drugs. If animals are not treated correctly the parasite eggs build up in the pasture and can spread rapidly. It is therefore important that owners get expert advice on worming. New Forest Equine Vets is the only practice in the area to be fully staffed by Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Advanced Practitioners in Equine Practice.

The ioLight microscope easily fits into a vet’s bag, yet still provides enough resolution to count the parasite eggs in faecal samples collected from stables. This allows the vets to manage the burden of parasites in the pasture by treating each animal with the correct worming regime.

ioLight launched the microscope in summer 2016 and has already sold it widely to animal health applications including sheep, cattle and fish. The image is delivered over a wireless link to a tablet and can easily be saved to client records or shared for expert opinion. The portability and robustness of the system makes it ideal for veterinary use. It is also very quick easy to use. ioLight has sold the product to Cambridge University, The Eden Project, The Medical Research Council and Bayer plc as well as vets.

ioLight offers a 30 day free return service to allow vets to try the product. Full specification and ordering details may be found in the ioLight web store. Contact us at for more information.

Competition winner explains how he uses field microscope

Field microscope prize winner, Adrian Rogers

In February, Adrian Rogers won an ioLight field microscope in a competition run by Lab News. Adrian correctly identified all 3 microscopic images to win the competition. That’s not easy since when viewed through a microscope, even very familiar objects look nothing like they normally do. Adrian has a great Twitter feed  on which he explains his exploits with the ioLight microscope. So when I had to go to the North West I was really excited to meet Adrian and find out why he likes the ioLight portable microscope  and what he has been doing with it.

Adrian works at Romer Labs  on food testing and has been using the microscope both in the lab at work and at home for pleasure. He uses the microscope with his iPhone making it a highly portable setup that he can easily pop into his bag and take anywhere. The microscope produces its images directly onto the iPhone, so the pictures are very easy for Adrian to post onto his Twitter feed.

In the video below Adrian explains why he has been using the ioLight microscope in his work at Romer Labs.

It is really fantastic that the person who won the microscope loves using it so much at work and play! Well done Adrian for winning the competition and thanks very much for sharing so many lovely microscopic images.

ioLight microscope design wins award

ioLight is pleased to announce that our design partners at Cambridge Industrial Design have won a European Product Design Award for their creative work on the ioLight portable microscope.

Thanks to Tim, Alex and Adrian for your hard work. The microscope is a thing of great beauty as well as its impressive functionality!

Full details here

ioLight wins grant to develop low-cost fluorescence microscope

ioLight is delighted to announce that today we have learnt that we have been awarded an Innovate UK grant to develop a Low-cost Fluorescence Microscope prototype and trial it with customers. The total project value is £88,994 which will be 70% funded by Innovate UK.

Fluorescence microscopes are used every day in biochemistry, medical research and drug discovery / development. They are used to detect fluorescent markers (beacons) that tag specific features or molecules that scientists want to look at. They allow researchers to look at molecules that would otherwise be too small to see and to watch processes in vivo by following the beacons through the animal.

The problem is that fluorescence microscopes are very expensive, starting from £15,000. This grant potentially allows ioLight to offer a product at a fraction of that price. Such a product could become an everyday utility for bio labs across the world, as well as being used extensively in education.

The image below was taken on ioLight’s proof of concept fluorescence microscope. It is the nematode C.elegans, which has been genetically engineered to produce yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) in its oesophagus. YFP fluoresces under ioLight’s blue illumination so that it looks green.

This grant will work with the crowd funding that ioLight is currently raising, by enabling us to bring forward the development of this valuable fluorescence microscope and thus ultimately launch a product years before it would have otherwise been possible. If you would like to see our investment pitch and potentially invest in this exciting opportunity please visit our page on Crowdcube’s web site –

C.elegans nematode viewed with the ioLight proof of concept low cost fluorescence microscope

C.elegans nematode viewed with the ioLight proof of concept low cost fluorescence microscope