During Fab Academy 2015 I'd like to convert a standard 2000X compound microscope I've had laying in my appartment for a couple of years into a Computer Controlled Microscope. The goal would be to allow XYZ tracking/logging and speed measurement of moving things, store/recall points of interest on a single slide and scan whole slides to create huge, highly-detailed, bandwith intensive pictures perfect for hg push... I could achieve this by coupling three stepper motors to the XYZ axis and controlling them using a software such as Processing to analyse the input from a webcam mounted onto the microscope. (blob, sharpness, background deletion, movement detection...)
I would need to design a worm drive that could connect to the knobs for the XY movement. The knobs move up and down when the Z axis is changed and back and forth when the Y axis is changed so the motors would need to either be attached to the table of the microscope or connected to the knobs using flexible extensions.
For the software part, a simple blob centering sketch that sends discplacement information to the microcontroller should be enough for the XY axis. I'm not quite sure how to keep track of the Z axis yet, I'm guessing a sharpness detection algorithm applied on the blob at Z-1, Z and Z+1 could be a good starting point. It's a project I've had on my mind for a couple of years..
Snail eggs stained with methylene blue & iodine gave me this idea.