The area of interest to me is optical imaging. I discussed how microscopy in particular can be thought of as a type of sensor. While we don't normally think of it that way, it could be considered a sensor that gives you spatially resolved, visual information of a particular type. There are an assortment of microscope modalities, with each providing or sensing different information. I proposed that in the future, many, if not all, of the various modalities could be integrated into a single platform which a user could readily access with a switch of a button. This type of convergence microscopy could be the next evolutionary step to multi-modal microscopy or sensing. An end-user would therefore be able to sense different types of data in situ (remains situated in original place) from the same specimen.
I also discussed what convergence microscopy could look like more than 10 years from now by looking at how the basic microscope has evolved over the last several centuries. If you were to look at the history of microscopes as far back as the 1600s to now, the frame or shape has noticeably changed roughly every hundred years. And for the last several decades, the microscope frame really hasn’t changed that much. So, I think we're about due for a new form of the microscope. Because of all the advances in materials and technology, we may get to a point where we can actually wear the microscope, which will essentially be an assortment of sensors. So we can begin to think about a conformal convergence microscope, where the instrument conforms to the body and brings a convergence of modalities. This could allow an individual at home to do something like simultaneously visualize their lungs and their constituent cells. It also would provide direct access to the nano-, micro-world at your fingertips, changing how we interact with the data, and how we perceive information about ourselves.