Static image processing provides tremendous insights for a wide array of research areas. Analysis of phenomena that change with time is also possible when time-lapse imaging has been performed. There are many advantages to dynamic studies of this type. One is the ability to analyze things that happen over very short or very long time scales. Another is the study of motion. Taking this approach means we can use something as simple as a phone camera movie to develop a sophisticated and quantitative analysis.
Image processing saves a LOT of time in your research, but we can’t always rely on the default menu choices to do everything, even in fantastic software like ImageJ. One need of microfluidics researchers is the separate size analysis of spherical (circular in 2D) droplets that are very similar in size but are mostly touching.
Most image analysis approaches require you to have separate particles in your sample before they can be automatically identified during processing, so to analyze an image like the one below we need to perform some extra pre-processing steps.
At the core of much of your work in this group is the handling of data in the form of digital images. Image processing is therefore data processing. This is great for a number of reasons:
Images immediately communicate a concept and aesthetic to people Images are numerical matrices that hold a LOT of useful information Combining several images makes a movie, a natural way to convey change with time and other variables Even if you have no experience processing digital images, you likely have experience making them using your phone.