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.

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

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!