Original source: IRB Barcelona


LegoLish-Mot is the second prototype of LEGOLish, a “unique and creative project that brings the latest 3D imaging technology in a simple and visual form to the public at large and to school children,” explains Julien Colombelli, also co-inventor of the first LEGOLish prototype, together with Jordi Andilla (Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)), Sébastien Tosi (IRB Barcelona), and Jim Swoger (Centre for Genomic Regulation, CRG).

“We have managed to remove the optical complexity from the microscope and bring a lego-based system that offers students the possibility to take images or videos themselves with their own mobile phones, yet functioning in 3D and using fluorescence on real biological samples,” remarks Julien. “Building a research microscope from Lego blocks will hopefully motivate schools and research labs to get one and to use it for educational purposes”, adds the co-inventor.

Microscopy, seeing to understand

Light Sheet Microscopy is the most important breakthrough in 3D fluorescence microscopy. This new technique allows the recording of images in vivo over several days without damaging the sample. And, much of the optimisation of this technology has been focused on delivering 3D images of very large samples at unprecedented resolution. Combined with chemical techniques to make samples transparent, full organ and tumour 3D imaging has recently been achieved at cellular resolution.

“Compared to many other fluorescence methods, such as confocal microscopy, that have been used in research labs for 30 years, Light Sheet Microscopy is so simple that it can be showcased to anyone and so hopefully it can clear up the perceived mystery surrounding what goes on in the dark rooms of research institutes,” explains Julien Colombelli. And he points out that “the latest and fully motorized version of LEGOLish will enable labs to test a basic Light Sheet system before deciding to purchase a commercial system”. In the current configuration, results generated by LEGOLish cost about 200 to 1000 times less than those produced by a commercial microscope.