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We're bringing a portable 3D macroscopic imaging device to the market that will enhance scientific research.

The Macropod by Macroscopic Solutions

If you think you know exactly what a spider looks like, our team at Macroscopic Solutions, may persuade you to take a closer peek.  

Up close—really, really close—that little creature has a breathtaking beauty, intricacy and, yes, even a trace of creepiness, which one can’t appreciate from afar.   

Jumping Spider
Jumping Spider

Macropod Overview

We have developed and commercialized an inexpensive, portable and easy-to-use 3-D imaging technology that produces high-resolution macroscopic images, like the magnificent images found in the gallery of our company web site and on our flickr page.  

Our product, the Macropod, is an automated image stacking solution that compiles as many as 500+ single-frame photographs into 1 image so that the final picture is completely in focus, in high-resolution, three dimensional and in color. The device is configured so that any user can operate it, even if they have no IT or photography background. The essentials, i.e., lighting, exposure time, ISO, aperture and focal limitations are all made easy. This means that scientists can spend more time conducting research and less time learning how to be a good photographer. 

Mark Smith with Connecticut Representative, Joe Courtney
Mark Smith with Connecticut Representative, Joe Courtney

How your pledge helps

Our funding goal of $30,000 is an additional step in our ongoing effort to raise money for product innovations that will require significant funding from crowdsourcing and other monetary award competitions. Kickstarter is a prime resource and we need help from Kickstarter's supporters! We are extremely grateful to all of those who offer and have already offered their support.

The $30,000 that we hope to raise through Kickstarter will be put to good use!  It will help fund a project that will increase the Macropod's efficiency and overall application, while reducing the buyer's cost. We will achieve our project goals by March, 2015. You can find all of the details below!

The Macropod is already a revolutionary product that is used across multiple scientific fields, and the innovative solutions emerging from this technology are exciting projects to work on. These solutions will advance how objects are rendered for 3D printing, they will drive the future of scientific discovery and they will prompt creativity in the minds of our children. 

We hope to one day have the Macropod in the hands of every child and adult who has an interest in science, nature, or photography. 

Improved Efficiency 

To be completed by December 2014

Lighting, lighting, lighting! A very essential component of the Macropod is the cylindrical piece of styrofoam that we use to diffuse light. It performs it's function flawlessly, but it is not durable and often breaks during transport. Remember, the device is portable, so this component will be upgraded to be expandable, collapsable and much more durable. It will work for all photographers alike!  This work will be completed in conjunction with Bruce Popek of Design Innovation Inc. in Avon, CT.

To be completed by March 2015

The current Macropod is automated in one axis, while all other axes need to be operated manually. This is easy to do and sometimes preferred; however, we will never sacrifice quality! The next generation Macropod will incorporate multi-axis and rotational automation. This will speed up the overall image capture time. This work will be completed in conjunction with Mark Mian of Vteams in Tolland, CT.

Cost Reduction

To be completed by March 2015

The current Macropod incorporates over 15 industry leading, hand-made anodized aluminum components that allow for unmatched accuracy and precision. This attention to detail is critical for the overall design and stability of the device, but innovations in design are needed. Currently, three parts perform a task where only one component should be used. Because these parts are hand-made and privately engineered, they are extremely expensive. We will work alongside our vendors so that the next generation product is more streamlined, lighter in weight and less expensive to produce and sell.  This work will be completed in conjunction with Bruce Popek of Design Innovation Inc in Avon, CT.   

Increased Application

The next generation Macropod will undergo changes that will allow it to be further subsidized and compatible with 3D printing. This type of optical precision is the future of 3D printing and unmanned exploration.

3D Printing
 

The Macropod compiles final output images by mapping the topography, or surface, of the object of interest. This means that the object is being imaged in 3 dimensions. Now that 3D printers are printing colored plastics and metals, the Macropod would be an ideal platform. It's possible to image a taste bud on a humming bird's tongue and print it 100 times its natural size so that it can be displayed in a museum. It can also be digitally preserved for future research.      

Unmanned Exploration

Unmanned missions are becoming increasingly popular on earth and on other planetary bodies. The Macropod could be a component of these exploratory vehicles. This would allow scientists to remotely capture the disappearing biodiversity in hard-to-reach places like the Amazon or the Arctic.

Dwarf Moss; each is 200 microns across
Dwarf Moss; each is 200 microns across

PLEASE JOIN AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR GROUPS IN SUPPORT OF OUR MISSION! 

flickr: Macro Images for Scientists

/r/Biocollections

/r/Macropod

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Mark Smith and Daniel Saftner co-manage Macroscopic Solutions and handle all sales, marketing, purchasing, and assembly. Annette Evans is in charge of imaging support and Jake Bellaire completes the team as IT specialist.

Many of our team's risks and challenges relate to product development. In order to complete the improvements outlined in the project description, we will need help with product design and prototyping. Fortunately, the UConn community has given us access to a number of experienced mentors who we stay in touch with regularly. Their contacts include a number of product development firms that have been extremely valuable to us as we continue to design and innovate. They keep our costs down and our production high!

Our mentors include Keith Fox, Rich Dino, Dave Pepin, Larry Yakaitis, Hugh Tansey, Drew Harris, Kevin Bouley, Eric Knight and Rick Kollmeyer.

Other challenges have to do with supply and demand. The Macropod consists of multiple outsourced components that have a limited production and are expensive to produce. With Kickstarter funding, we hope to avoid any issues involving a lack of materials. This will be accomplished by working in cooperation with our existing vendors.

Additional challenges have to do with the fact that we are a young company. It is sometimes difficult to establish credit, accounts and terms with many of our vendors. Despite this, we have successfully addressed many of these issues and formed great business relationships. We are confident in our vision, the long-term growth of our company and how we can capture our market.

Since March 15, 2013, Annette Evans has been helping Macroscopic Solutions grow in terms of research and development and customer acquisition. She has an extensive understanding in high-resolution imaging and image acquisition. Her skills are essential to the success of our company.

However, Annette is a New Zealand native and is currently living in the United States on a temporary, one-year work visa. We want to ensure that she can stay with the company as a full time employee. We have written letters to our state representatives and have sought help from our mentors. We hope to receive good news soon.

FAQ

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    We sincerely thank you for your contribution! If desired, we will keep you updated on all of our upcoming news and events via email.

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    We will upload a high resolution image on our popular photo sharing blogs and websites i.e. Flickr, reddit and Facebook, which will ACKNOWLEDGE YOU as a dedicated member of the Macroscopic Solutions family.

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    You will receive a SMALL PRINT of one of our top rated images. You will also be publicly ACKNOWLEDGED on our website at www.macroscopicsolutions.com.

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    You will be provided with a Macroscopic Solutions T-SHIRT. You will also be ACKNOWLEDGED on our website.

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    You will be provided with a Macroscopic Solutions T-SHIRT and TWO SMALL PRINTS. You will also be ACKNOWLEDGED on our website.

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    You will be provided with a Macroscopic Solutions T-SHIRT and ONE high quality LARGE POSTER PRINT. You will also be ACKNOWLEDGED on our website.

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    You will be provided with a THUMB DRIVE that contains ALL of Macroscopic Solutions HIGH QUALITY images from 2013. You can use these photos for any purpose! You will also receive TWO SMALL PRINTS and a Macroscopic Solutions T-SHIRT. You will also be ACKNOWLEDGED on our website.

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    You will be provided with a THUMB DRIVE that contains ALL of Macroscopic Solutions HIGH QUALITY images from 2013. You can use these photos for any purpose. You will also be provided with TWO high quality LARGE POSTER PRINTS, a Macroscopic Solutions T-SHIRT and FOUR SMALL PRINTS. You will also be ACKNOWLEDGED on our website.

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    We will IMAGE any small OBJECT OF YOURS that you wish to see in HIGH RESOLUTION! You will be provided with a LARGE POSTER PRINT of your object, TWO SMALL PRINTS of the object and the DIGITAL FILES. You will be provided with a THUMB DRIVE that contains ALL of Macroscopic Solutions HIGH QUALITY images from 2013. You can use these photos for any purpose! You will receive a Macroscopic Solutions T-SHIRT. You will also be ACKNOWLEDGED on our website.

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    We will IMAGE any TWO small OBJECTS OF YOURS that you wish to see in HIGH RESOLUTION. You will be provided with a LARGE POSTER PRINT of each object, TWO SMALL PRINTS of each object and the DIGITAL FILES. You will be provided with a THUMB DRIVE that contains ALL of Macroscopic Solutions HIGH QUALITY images from 2013. You can use these photos for any purpose! You will receive a Macroscopic Solutions T-SHIRT. You will also be ACKNOWLEDGED on our website.

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Funding period

- (30 days)