Virtual Microscopy

A friend teaches classes that use a microscopy lab. As with many transformations, the conversion of this resource to virtual microscopes has turned out to make things harder and more expensive too. How can that be?

Consider that the images can be a gigabyte. Everything that makes images easy on the web breaks down at this scale.

Consider that software comes from a company serving a small market. Without years of experience they must charge their few customers enough to support learning how to make virtual microscopes. No economy of scale yet.

Consider that the best software developers could just as well move to the Bay and take a chance at being billionaires. Why work on difficult specialized educational tools that aren't even real instruments?

Consider that the students and their professors aren't the ones making the purchasing decisions. The promise of the virtual lab captures the imagination of property managers, the real customers.

Although this conversion must be making or saving someone money it is surely not in the best interest of the students paying many thousands to attend medical school. Why? It has replaced problems with difficulties.