Automatic capturing of a library (10k) of small objects (0.1mm - 10 cm)

I have a question that only partially fits this forum, but given the vast expertise of the community, I would still love to pick up your brains.

We need to image a library of small objects (0.1mm - 10cm), about 10k objects. The best would be to take a multiangle acquisition of each object (but we can start with a single-shot per object). I am wondering how to organize an image acquisition setup and a workflow. Does anybody have an idea of a system that one can ensemble or use for this purpose?

Probably we need:

  • camera with a macro
  • light table
  • automated stage to do rotations
  • control unit + storage system

My favorite workflow:

  1. I put an object on the light table.
  2. The system detects that there is a new object, focuses, make the shot (or series of shots that will require also an automatic table rotation), stores images in the database. Maybe I label the object after the ID I have (but this can be eventually be done later).
  3. I remove the object from the table and get another object.

(actually, it is a lie - my favorite mode would include full robotization :wink: )

Any ideas if I can buy a system that is able to help me? Or if I need to construct it on my own, which components to use that I can integrate everything? Is there any software platform to use?

Any tips are welcomed.

PS I added the “macro” hashtag since it fitted perfectly :wink:

Your task is very ambitious and the description is very vague.

Magnifications in a range of x1000 are required.
AFAIK there is no single optics that meets these requirements.

The illumination is not specified.

You haven’t given any definition of the task or the required image quality.
What is the task?
Documentation, 3D-Shape Detection, Measurement, …
What is the necessary spatial resolution?
What is the accepted spatial deviation and image distortion?

What kind of objects are you dealing with?
Weight? (heavy metal or feathers)?
Surface? (reflecting, matt, crystalline)?
Material (porous, crumbly, abrasion resistant …)?

All this details have a strong influence onto the design of an automation system.

Start with a manual system. Build an adequate illumination and imaging system.
By this you get a feeling for the details and complexity of the task. And for the potential costs of an automated solution.

Pretty sure … if you only have 10k objects and not some more batches … it will be faster and less costly to use the manual or semi-manual system.

Thank you for your comments and input. Yes, the description is vague, I will add some details below.

Bottom line is that I agree with You that starting with a semi-manual approach is desired. Still, I need to find reasonable hardware first, probably the one which supports further development in the direction of automation.

The objects are insects. I have not seen the whole collection yet, this is one of the reasons I am imprecise.

Illumination - I think here the light table provides a solution. It is “white light”.

I should choose a camera system & light first, maybe it might not cover all objects (smallest or largest?). Still I would like that I can control a camera and stage - I press one button and: 3 x (the focus is found, the image is taken, stage is rotating, file is saved in DB). Here I miss some information which camera/stage systems would allow me to use API to automate it.

Once again thanks for your inputs. It is appreciated.