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New techniques of illustrating microfossils using virtual reality

Leica MZ6 Stereomicroscope in Micropaleontology

An important aspect of microfossil research and documentation is the adequate illustration of specimens using various techniques. Some of the latest work of Dr Michael Knappertsbusch, Curator for micropaleontology at Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, relates to the development of techniques that allow the illustration of microfossils in three dimensions by stereography and animated light micrography.

Usually, the resolution of a light optical system is affected by a number of physical factors resulting in the limited ability to illustrate objects at full focal depth. Using advanced techniques in digital image processing it is possible to overcome these difficulties and microscopic specimens can be illustrated at full focus, at various angles of view, and in stereo vision.

For this purpose Dr Michael Knappertsbusch develops advanced tools to produce animated stereographic representations of microfossils seen through a Leica MZ6 binocular at full-focal resolution by means of computerassisted light microscopy.

Stereopair images were obtained using a special stand for the binocular microscope that allows users to acquire a pair of images from slightly different angles of view at the same focal plane.

For the construction of animated scenes a series of images of the test object must be taken at constant steps of changing orientation. For this purpose a universal stage was constructed, that provides users with the ability to rotate manually and tilt the object into any desired orientation.

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