Assistive Technology

Just over two decades ago, machines and appliances could only be operated through the use of knobs, levers and switches. If a person did not have the manual dexterity to turn the knobs, slide the levers or flip the switches, then he or she had to be content with whatever careers were left that did not require such capability. Since most tools of science had knobs, levers and switches, this meant there was no possibility for an aspiring scientist with restricted physical abilities to pursue their dreams.

Shortly thereafter the personal computer was introduced to the public and this limitation all but disappeared. Creative people designed electronics in such a way that a personal computer could be used as the interface in place of all the knobs, levers and switches. Incredibly, this technology has evolved to the point that a person on this planet can control a little robotic vehicle roaming the surface of Mars 50 million miles away.

There is an optical microscope in nearly every scientific laboratory, hospital and institution of higher learning in this country. This tool has always required a great amount of manual dexterity to adjust six independent controls.

A microscopist must hold his or her head in an unnatural and rigid position for extended periods of time in order to peer into a pair of eyepieces and observe a sample. A daunting set of requirements that has certainly thinned the ranks of those who could work at a job that required their use.

However, the physical requirements of operating the microscope have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual work being performed, which is strictly analytical. Good visual skills and a scientifically trained mind are the only real necessities in order to excel at any career that requires a person to spend their day at a microscope. By redesigning the optical microscope to make it completely controllable from a personal computer, TriTek has made it possible for anyone who can use a PC to use a microscope.