Simplifying the OpenFlexure microscope software with the web of things

Joel T. Collins, Joe Knapper, Samuel J. McDermott, Filip Ayazi, Kaspar E. Bumke, Julian Stirling, Richard W. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


We present the OpenFlexure Microscope software stack which provides computer control of our open source motorised microscope. Our diverse community of users needs both graphical and script-based interfaces. We split the control code into client and server applications interfaced via a web API conforming to the W3C Web of Things standard. A graphical interface is viewed either in a web browser or in our cross-platform Electron application, and gives basic interactive control including common operations such as Z stack acquisition and tiled scanning. Automated control is possible from Python and Matlab, or any language that supports HTTP requests. Network control makes the software stack more robust, allows multiple microscopes to be controlled by one computer, and facilitates sharing of equipment. Graphical and script-based clients can run simultaneously, making it easier to monitor ongoing experiments. We have included an extension mechanism to add functionality, for example controlling additional hardware components or adding automation routines. Using a Web of Things approach has resulted in a user-friendly and extremely versatile software control solution for the OpenFlexure Microscope, and we believe this approach could be generalized in the future to make automated experiments involving several instruments much easier to implement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number211158
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number11
Early online date17 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge financial support from EPSRC (EP/R013969/1, EP/R011443/1) and the Royal Society (URF/R1/180153, RGF/EA/181034).


  • hardware/software interfaces
  • integration and modelling
  • system architectures
  • web technologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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