We’ve willingly adopted a Cylon

It’s a beauty…look at thing. Ominous, brooding, ready to rise up and destroy us if we don’t do its bidding. We’re glad to have it, though!

Would you believe that’s what a modern microscope looks like? The biology discipline just bought a Keyence BZ-X810, which is a light sheet fluorescence microscope that is intimidatingly automated. You don’t touch any of the microscope components directly, you just load up a holder with multiple slides or petri dishes or 24 well plates, put it in the guts of the box, and close it up. Everything is controlled with a computer. Push a button to select your fluorescence wave length. Push another button to select your microscope objective. Click on the screen to move your specimen under the objective. Focus with your mouse wheel. When an administrator stomps in demanding to know why you spent $100,000 on a strange gray box, click another button and it turns its elongate blue eye to the offender and disintegrates them. It’s perfect.

I am the imperfect one, because I’ve got to get a genetics lecture and exam together tonight, so I can’t snuggle up with our new machine and play. Spring break is coming soon, though, and then…then we will take over the world.

(By the way, this is not mine, it’s shared equipment for the whole biology discipline. I just look forward to mastering it.)


  1. bcw bcw says

    Have used one of these. Nice toy.

    Use the regular microscope keyences a lot more, they’ve been pretty reliable.
    The measurement feature is pretty accurate but you have to make sure the lens selection is well seated – not a problem with the box you have.

    Stiching is a really useful function, as is the depth-up feature though I don’t know that you can use it with stuff that moves.

  2. twoangstroms says

    “…mastering it.”

    Careful! If future history has taught us anything, that’s one way to spark the robot revoluion.

  3. jrkrideau says

    That reminds me , I need a new toaster.

    Nice machine but could they not have made it a bit more flamboyant?

  4. kaleberg says

    Welcome to the future. That’s what modern scientific instruments look like, sleek boxes. There’s one for amateur astronomers that looks almost like that except in white. It points the telescope, stacks the images, processes them and sends them to your phone or tablet.

  5. nomdeplume says

    But where is the little mirror and the clip that holds the slide in place…?

    If I needed convincing, this convinces me that I have been left far behind by the new zoology!

  6. PaulBC says


    That’s what modern scientific instruments look like, sleek boxes.

    It kind of wrecks movie scenes of scientists peering into the microscope and watching cells do their thing in real time. Just boxes and electronic imaging, eh? I guess that’s our sad new world.

  7. PaulBC says

    My honest opinion: It’s more K-cup than K9, let alone Cylon. Definitely looks like a coffee machine, and not even a classic design like Chemex. (I am really sick of all the home K-cup machines. How lazy do you have to be? I grind beans in a few seconds and put them in the filter.)

  8. microraptor says

    just stick a plunger and an eggbeater on it and watch it roll around saying “exterminate.”

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Maybe the infernal thing can help dig a tunnel from PZs house to his workplace? Just melt the rock and earth.

  10. seachange says

    It is a very curious object. The specs on the manufacturers sheet make it look more like what I thought it was, a proto-Transformer.

    Where is the objective? Does it digitize the image and send it to a screen somewhere if so how many people can look at the specimen at any one time? Are any of the parts user serviceable if a student does a stoopid the specs for the moving parts look proprietary to me? It runs on Windows 10 so it’s only good as long as Microsoft still supports this OS?

  11. simonhadley says

    Scout’s honor, I genuinely thought that was a Keurig coffee maker at first.