Instrument architecture. The instrument architecture is separated into eight major modules based on analog controls. (1) The 2-axis hall-effect joystick controls stage movement, milling motor rotation, Z axis head assembly position, and aspirator activation. (2) The core of the imaging software is a modified DNVideo-X application from AnMo Electronics that utilizes discreet instrument outputs via a LabJack A/D converter. (3) A hollow shafted stepper motor rotates the xScisor at a speed controlled by a separate user controlled potentiometer. (4) The Z Axis head assembly position is controlled by a linear actuator with an integrated potentiometer to enable 3 positions: load/unload, ready and contact. Contact position involves the linear actuator lowering the head assembly onto a height adjustable spring such that the downward force on the xScisor blade is minimized. (5) The instrument controls the xScisor fluid flow rate by withdrawing the xScisor plunger using a second linear actuator driven by the sum of X and Y axis absolute voltage inputs from the joystick, and an optional joystick pushbutton pulse control. (6) These joystick derived voltages also control the X and Y axis stage position through gear DC motors connected to cogged belt drives to pairs of parallel leadscrew drives. Stage positional feedback is received from a pair of 10 turn precision analog potentiometers via the A/D convertor and a shared USB multiplex plug. (7) The digital microscope is a 1.3 megapixel Dino-Lite by AnMo electronics connected to the imaging software via a shared USB multiplex plug. (8) The electronics module consists of the main circuit board, two driver boards, and the LabJack A/D converter.
Adey et al. BMC Clinical Pathology 2013 13:29 doi:10.1186/1472-6890-13-29