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Nikon introduces the digital inverted microscope, Smart Imaging System “ECLIPSE Ji”

Utilizing AI to accelerate research and development for drug discovery and biological studies.


TOKYO – WEBWIRE
Smart Imaging System “ECLIPSE Ji”
Smart Imaging System “ECLIPSE Ji”

Nikon Corporation (Nikon) has announced the release of the smart imaging system “ECLIPSE Ji”, which utilizes AI to automate the acquisition and analysis of cellular images, streamlining research workflows involving cancer and nerve disease. The smart imaging system “ECLIPSE Ji”, a digital inverted microscope, will go on sale.
The “ECLIPSE Ji” features a microscope design without eyepieces. Combining this hardware with the NIS-Elements SE imaging software (sold separately, to be released alongside the “ECLIPSE Ji”) will enable standardized assays*1 that perform image acquisition, analysis, and data display.

  1. *1Evaluation of biological responses using cultured cells.


Release Overview

Product Name: Smart Imaging System “ECLIPSE Ji”

Release Date: September 8, 2023

Development Background

In drug discovery and related life science research, automated cellular analysis technologies improve the efficiency of new drug development and compound screening. Nikon has identified drug discovery support as a significant growth driver in its medium-term management plan and is therefore developing strategies and instruments to aid the field by improving the accuracy and efficiency of evaluating new drug candidates.

Image acquisition and analysis is complex and requires specialized knowledge that is indispensable in drug discovery research and development. Therefore, Nikon has developed the smart imaging system “ECLIPSE Ji”, which uses deep learning, a type of AI, to largely automate common tasks within image acquisition and analysis workflows. It streamlines microscope operation and supports users to focus on more creative activities such as developing new hypotheses based on the obtained data.

Furthermore, additional imaging hardware and modalities can be integrated with ECLIPSE Ji to achieve similar research capabilities as an inverted microscope. This flexibility supports a wide range of tasks from routine assays to applied research, contributing to the efficiency and acceleration of research and development in drug discovery.

Main Features

1. Automate microscope operations with AI to improve efficiency from sample identification to data visualization

Install a well plate*2 on “ECLIPSE Ji”, select an assay, and enter basic information. The AI automatically sets focus and exposure conditions, acquires and analyzes images, and displays the relevant data for that assay. Automation of microscope operations by AI improves user workflow by maintaining consistent and efficient operations from sample setup through report generation. Furthermore, the system can be used without specialized knowledge since there is no need to build image analysis algorithms, and the automated operation by AI is expected to improve the analysis accuracy rate by reducing human variability.

  • *2A flat plate-like device with many chambers called wells. Each well acts as an individual test tube or petri dish.


2. Accelerate data analysis by visualizing statistics across single cells to populations

An intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) simplifies data visualization. For example, selecting a set of data points on the graph highlights the corresponding cells in the image. Because data is stored on a single-cell basis, it is as easy to visualize and record population-level trends as it is to analyze “outliers” that behave differently from the population. Equipped with a wide range of tools to support users’ data analysis, the system contributes to the efficiency and acceleration of research and development.

3. Enhanced equipment scalability and flexibility to meet research needs

The “ECLIPSE Ji” has comparable hardware expandability to an inverted microscope for research purposes, including compatibility with add-on systems such as the AX confocal microscope or additional high-sensitivity microscope digital cameras. In addition, a stage-top incubator for live observation of cultured cells can be easily installed. The expandability of the equipment has been enhanced*3 to support a wide range of applications, from routine tasks such as basic assays to applied research.

  • *3When using AX confocal microscope or high-sensitivity digital cameras, NIS-Elements AR instead of NIS-Elements SE will be used because ECLIPSE Ji is recognized as an inverted microscope


4. All-in-One design for greater flexibility in benchtop placement

During fluorescence imaging, it is ideal to shield the sample from room light to maximize image quality. The “ECLIPSE Ji" does not require a dark room or special enclosure because the microscope is housed in a box-like cover, allowing fluorescent imaging in normal laboratory light conditions. In addition, the “ECLIPSE Ji” contains an integrated light source and digital camera that are placed efficiently to reduce the overall dimensions of the system.

Main Specifications

Observation method: Transmission brightfield, epifluorescence

Optical system: Infinity corrected CFI60 optics, FOV 25

Objective lens: CFI Plan Apochromat Lambda D 4X
CFI Plan Apochromat Lambda D 10X
CFI Plan Apochromat Lambda D 20X

Electric department: Objective magnification switching, stage movement (including specimen loading), objective vertical movement, aperture diaphragm, Specimen holder claw opening/closing, macro/micro observation system switching

On-board assay: 9 types

Nosepiece: Motorized sextuple nosepiece, PFS (focus maintenance function) compatible

Stage: Electric stage

Body rating: Input rating: AC100-240 V±10%, 50/60 Hz, 3.oA
Maximum power consumption: 320 W

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