Probing Complex Dynamical Structures in Three Dimensions

Founding Body: European Research Council – ERC Proof of Concept
Total grant: € 150k
Principal Investigator: Irene Giardina
Other participants:
Project duration: 2016-2018

Despite the recent expansion and enormous potential of 3D microscopy and 3D scanning, these technologies currently suffer from two limitations: i) lack of unity: although both technologies aim to unveil the 3D features of a system, they are being developed completely independently, resulting in lower flexibility and higher costs; ii) lack of dynamics: today these technologies can barely be applied to fast moving systems; however, crucial microscopic traits are dynamical, and key industrial features as structural deformation, shear and stress, are induced by motion itself. PROCEEDS will exploit the knowledge developed within the ERC project SWARM to explore the industrial potential of a platform that unifies 3D microscopy and 3D scanning under a single dynamical framework. SWARM developed a new powerful tracking algorithm capable of reconstructing the 3D dynamical trajectories of particles within large and dense moving swarms. In the industrial context, a `swarm’ is either formed by the actual constituents of the system (as the organelles within a cell), or by the virtual tracers used to probe the system (as the reflective spots cast on a moving body). PROCEEDS will use the code developed by SWARM as a unifying platform for developing 3D dynamical microscopy – tracking actual swarms – and 3D dynamical scanning – tracking virtual swarms. Accordingly, PROCEEDS will test two commercialization paths: 1) 3DMICRO: a tracking software for the control of multi-camera microscopes, providing the reconstruction of the 3D trajectories of microorganisms and colloidal particles, with impact on the health, processing and food industry. 2) DYSCAN: a new, non-invasive and accurate 3D scanning method of fast moving bodies, which turns swarms of passive tracers into distributed clouds of virtual accelerometers, thus measuring deformation, stress and vibration of structures under heavy dynamic loads, with impact on machine monitoring in energy, automotive and transportation industry.