Telemicroscopy, sometimes called remote microscopy, is an expanding set of microscopy techniques, made possible by the advent of ubiquitous and pervasive Internet technologies such as the World Wide Web. Recently, telemicroscopy has moved from laboratory prototypes to commercially available software. This paper discusses a real-world application of telemicroscopy in terms of a microscopy consultancy service offered by ERA Technology Ltd. in Leatherhead, UK.
Many organisations require microscopical services on an occasional basis. These needs are not however, sufficiently frequent as to justify the purchase and upkeep of an SEM or the recruitment and retention of a trained instrument operator Such organisations employ consultancy firms to perform the required analyses. In many such consultancies, a sample is sent to the microscopist with appropriate instructions. Once the investigation is complete, the consultant returns sample, micrographs and other results. The SEM service run by ERA has always offered its customers the opportunity for personal participation in any investigation, by attendance at SEM sessions at the Leatherhead laboratory.