The robotic microscope that detects asbestos

Monday, 20 March, 2017

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Frontier Microscopy has developed an automated microscopy analysis system for the asbestos air monitoring industry. The analysis program, named Marvin, uses artificial intelligence and a robotic microscope to screen air samples for asbestos fibres in a fraction of the time it takes humans.

The company’s co-founder and managing director, Jordan Gruber, explained that current asbestos screening processes require people to analyse samples, record the data on paper and then manually enter the information into a computer. According to Gruber, this process is too slow and could lead to potentially avoidable exposure.

In contrast, Marvin’s microscope is a custom-built robotic device that does not include an eyepiece but instead takes up to 100 images across an entire sample in less than a minute. These images are then automatically uploaded to the software, where they are analysed for traces of asbestos, before being stored on the cloud and formatted into a suitable document for relevant government bodies or companies.

A recent graduate of the Southstart accelerator program, Frontier Microscopy recently received $50,000 in funding from the South Australian Government’s Early Commercialisation Fund and is still continuing to look for more opportunities. The company will make Marvin available worldwide in the middle of the year.

This is a modified version of a story published by The Lead South Australia under Creative Commons.

Image credit: © Forrester Shankie

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