Dr. Cyril Picard originally developed a self-contained miniature environmental chamber to allow him to observe biological cells over a period of a few days. Previously this was done by building a sealed chamber around the microscope stage. Since the chamber has been developed and used for observing cells, the researchers have realised that it may well have a broader range of uses, as it can also be used in conjunction with several other optical analysis techniques. In particular it may prove useful for a range of medical procedures such as cell biopsies.
The chamber allows easy control of the medium in which the cells are cultivated, easy control of the atmosphere surrounding the cells, and easy control of the temperature. It also allows the use of any transparent cell substrate. In addition, the chamber can be held in any orientation, allowing it to be used upside down on a non-inverted microscope to place the cells as close as possible to the microscope objective.
The i-Team will work closely with the researchers to identify possible areas of use for the environmental chamber. They will also be tasked with contacting medical equipment suppliers and hospitals to determine interest in the device, and examining the purchasing procedures of hospitals for this type of equipment.